League One showdown Oxford face Wycombe at Wembley
Oxford have the chance to return to the Championship for the first time since 1999 when they play Wycombe at Wembley on Monday. The Chairboys have never played in the second tier, but who will make history in the capital? Have a read of our preview here:
Oxford rise and fall coming full circle
Oxford made their mark on English football in the 1980s when, powered by the millions of Robert Maxwell (the less said about that the better), the Oxfordshire outfit rose through the divisions and made it to Division One (now the PL).
Of course, the overspending caught up with them and as the truth about Maxwell’s media empire came to light the club was forced to sell their best players and relegation quickly followed.
Oxford spent the next decade in the second-tier, except for a brief couple of years in the third, but when financial troubles hit again it spelt the end of Championship football for the U’s. They were relegated from that level in 1999 and have not been back since, even spending four years in the National League between 2006 and 2010.
Things have been looking up in recent years with Chris Wilder and then Michael Appleton building the club back to a better standard. Karl Robinson has continued that success despite a shaky start and had his side on the verge of automatic promotion when COVID-19 forced a shutdown.
In the ensuing play-offs, the Yellows despatched Portsmouth on penalties after drawing 1-1 both home and away.
They have a great chance to end a surreal campaign in the best possible way – a promotion at Wembley.
With Rob Dickie anchoring a strong defence and Matty Taylor leading the line, this is a side with plenty of talent. Midfielder Cameron Brannagan and James Henry have enjoyed an excellent campaign and have done well to absorb the loss of Shandon Baptiste and Tariqe Fosu to Brentford in January.
Will they have a better opportunity to get back to the second-tier? Probably not but take Wycombe lightly at your peril.
It should be standing room only for the Chairboys
Wycombe Wanderers are on the verge of history. The club, who have more history in non-league football than the EFL in their 133 years, have enjoyed a campaign they will look back on with pride.
A lot has been made of their eighth place finish, but it PPG is what it is, and why should the Chairboys faithful be apologetic for a twist of fate out of their control.
This is a time to grasp an opportunity. It might be the only one they get with owner Rob Cohig already warning of leaner times to come.
Promotion to the second-tier would give the Wycombe coffers a £6m boost, a handy sum given the current circumstances. Even if they come straight back down, which is becoming a pattern with those that win promotion from the third-tier, they will be in a better position for it.
Alex Samuel, Joe Jacobson and Darius Charles have all been key to their success this season yet picking out just one player in one of the division’s best teams, is pretty hard.
Gareth Ainsworth, on the other hand, should be given the freedom of the town regardless of how Monday pans out. He has worked wonders and the Wanderers may have one more miracle up their sleeve before we wave goodbye to 2019/20.
Oxford United v Wycombe Wanderers betting tip
These sides are very well matched and it could be another trip to extra-time for the boys in Yellow. In a match unlikely to see a lot of goalmouth action, we are backing it to finish with under 2.5 goals at odds of 1.65 with Betway here.