McKenna wants no regrets as 'positive and proactive' Town face Oxford

Kieran McKenna's Ipswich take on Oxford United this weekend

Kieran McKenna's Ipswich take on Oxford United this weekend - Credit: Steve Waller

Kieran McKenna is once again looking to come away with no regrets as he prepares his side to face Oxford tomorrow. 

The Blues head to the Kassam Stadium to face the side sitting fourth in League One, knowing three points are required as they continue their own chase for the play-offs. 

McKenna’s side are on a run of nine games without defeat and, though four draws in that time have dented their top six hopes, as they look to play catch-up following a poor start to the season, the Town boss believes he and his side have always been positive and proactive in matches.  

“I think we’ll look at it as we have every game,” McKenna said of the clash. “Certainly we’ve not gone into any game looking for anything other than a win,” he said. 

“And during any game we’ve certainly not settled for a draw at any point. I think we’ve always tried to be proactive in terms of chasing the game in the second half if we’re not ahead. 

“We’ve tried to be proactive with substitutions, tried to be proactive with how we play and that was certainly the case last week against Portsmouth. 

“I definitely don’t think the players could look back in that game with any regrets in terms of effort or in terms of intent to go and get a winning goal. If an offside hadn’t gone against us, as would have been correct, we would have had the winning goal. 

Most Read

“Our approach will be the same as it always is, we’ve tried to win every game, we’ve won plenty, sometimes you fall a little bit short but our intent will be that we’ll go there and try and win, we’ll do everything we can to get that win. 

“If the game’s not going our way, we’ll look to be positive and make the changes that we feel that give us the advantage to go and win the game and, as you say, we’ll continue to make sure we try and leave everything on the pitch and have no regrets. If we do that then I don’t think I can ask any more of the players.” 

Town face an Oxford side looking set for a play-off berth for the third-successive season under Karl Robinson, with the U’s the division’s leading scorers on 73. 

“I can’t speak too much about the previous seasons, but I’ve seen a lot of them this year from when I took the job here,” McKenna said. 

“They’re a team we’ve watched quite a lot of because they’re a good team to assess our next opponents on because they’re a very good footballing team. 

Oxford United team manager Karl Robinson and Town skipper Sam Morsy, pictured after the game.

Town and Oxford drew 0-0 earlier in the season - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“They play with a brave style of play, they play very open, they want to attack a lot, the manager (Robinson) has obviously done a very good job of instilling that at this club and at other clubs (MK Dons and Charlton) he’s been at as well. 

“It’s no surprise that they’ve scored the most goals in the league and recorded some of scorelines they have because they’re a very open and dynamic team and they have a lot of good individual players as well. 

“They have players of a good pedigree and good individual players. They’re a well-coached team with a good philosophy, so it’s no surprise to me that they’re up the top of the league and scoring a lot of goals, and we know it’s going to be a big challenge on Saturday.” 

McKenna continued: “I think their base idea is always to attack, their base idea is a really positive style of play and that’s how they look to implement it in most games. 

“I think every team has to find moments where they can adapt and adjust their tactics according to the state of the game or to the opposition. 

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson during the Sky Bet League One match at the Kassam Stadium, Oxfor

Karl Robinson has taken Oxford to the play-offs in the last two seasons - Credit: PA

“We’ve had a lot of experience of that lately with teams who have given us a really high level of respect and adapt from how they normally go about their business and are maybe a little bit more conservative against us, which has been a challenge for us. 

“I would expect Oxford at home to be a team who will look to go out to be positive and be on the front foot and look to bring their game to us. 

“In a way, I’m excited by that challenge, hopefully it will make for a good game and an open game between two good teams. 

“Throughout any level of football, you always have the way that you want to be able to go about your business and as managers you have the way that you want to see your team play on the pitch but you also know there are different circumstances and different moments in games where you need to be able to adapt. 

“My prediction is that you’ll see two teams on Saturday who will go out on the front foot and try an impose themselves on the game.”