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Karl Robinson wants more aggression from Oxford next season

Karl Robinson wants to see more aggression from his side (Tim Goode/PA)
Karl Robinson wants to see more aggression from his side (Tim Goode/PA)

Oxford boss Karl Robinson said the 1-1 draw with Doncaster at the Kassam Stadium helped cement his idea that he needs more aggression in the team next season.

Billy Bodin opened the scoring for Oxford after 23 minutes but Josh Martin equalised midway through the second half for Rovers, whose relegation was confirmed.

Robinson said: “To finish on 76 points is unbelievable.

“The fans here have been exceptional the last four years in terms of their acceptance and the warmth they have shown me, and that will stay with me my whole life.

“I wasn’t shocked by the flatness of the game. We need an evolution here, a directional change.

“For a large part of the game we were in control, although I thought in general we were a bit off it and not aggressive enough.

“For me personally it’s the perfect afternoon in that I learned a lot – it gave me complete clarity, although I get it that the fans are disappointed that we didn’t win.

“We need to be more aggressive if we want to be successful and aim for automatic promotion rather than have the play-offs as the aim.”

One boost for Robinson was a fine debut for 17-year-old James Golding, who gave a fine showing at the back and also saw a volley blocked on the line late on.

Robinson said: “Golding’s only a kid but looks like a monster with his size. He was exceptional today.

“The difference between James and other kids is that he wants it more, and he’s willing to listen and learn.”

The Oxford boss also confirmed he would like goalscorer Bodin and injured striker Sam Baldock to stay at the club.

But Northern Ireland international Mark Sykes, who was not in the team, is set to leave.

“Sykes’ contract is up and he will move on, that was why I didn’t play him,” Robinson said.

Doncaster’s relegation was already a foregone conclusion – they had needed a 29-goal swing as well as a victory and other results to go their way.

Boss Gary McSheffrey said: “We’re obviously disappointed to go down but in terms of the game we played well.

“It’s been six on the spin where the performance level has been good, so although long term it’s very disappointing that we haven’t been able to stay up, in the short term over the last month we’ve performed well.

“We played with confidence here and made a good Oxford team and squad look quite average.

“I think we will need four or five new good players to have a chance of bouncing back next season. We need more goals, need to strengthen the midfield area and need goals from the centre-backs.

“But lately we’ve played well and we’ve had one or two who have only just come into the team after injuries.

“A lot of players don’t want the season to end.

“We rode our luck a couple of times but I felt my players were playing without fear, we just maybe didn’t have that extra quality you need.

“It’s just taken too long to get that consistency going and we’ve just run out of games.”