Karl Robinson warns Blackpool, Sunderland and Lincoln City: My Oxford United side are the clear underdogs for the play-offs

The manager of Blackpool’s semi-final foes Oxford United has proclaimed his side are the clear underdogs for the League One play-offs.

By Matt Scrafton
Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 8:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 8:57 am

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The Seasiders take on the U’s over two legs after finishing in third place in the table, secured with a final day win against Bristol Rovers on Sunday.

Oxford, meanwhile, snatched the final play-off spot on the last day with a 4-0 thrashing of Burton Albion, leapfrogging Portsmouth into sixth place who had been beaten at home by Accrington Stanley.

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Sunderland take on Lincoln City in the other semi-final, with the winners from each tie due to meet in the Wembley final on Sunday, May 30.

Oxford boss Karl Robinson whose side were beaten in the play-off final by Wycombe Wanderers last season, says there’s no pressure on his players.

“What a season – 74 points, that’s Oxford United back in the play-offs,” he said. “I’m immensely proud of everybody.

"We’ve been at this for two years and we’re now a big force in League One. We can celebrate this, because finishing in the top six is a great achievement.

Oxford boss Karl Robinson

“For us to still be in this fight to get out of this league is quite incredible.

“We go into the play-offs nowhere near favourites. We were bottom of the league at the start of the season and in the relegation zone for three months, so it is an immensely proud moment for all of us.

"Last season we got into the play-offs through a phone call and that was hard but on this occasion we did it on the pitch. We are delighted and the best thing is that there will be fans back. We can’t wait.

“For us to get to the play-offs is way beyond our board’s expectations, our fans to a certain extent.

“We have finished above some very big clubs and for some unknown reason we are in with a shout of going to the second tier of English football.”

Robinson will be absent from the dugout for both legs of the semi-final after being handed a touchline ban.

It comes after Robinson was hit with a four-match touchline ban for his involvement in an altercation during Oxford's game at Sunderland on Good Friday.

He served the first game during Oxford's win against Burton on Sunday, which secured their place in the play-offs.

Oxford's head coach has also been hit with a £4,500 fine.

“It is difficult being suspended in these moments but maybe a little bit easier with no fans there because the players can hear you and you can get every single message across to them,” he said.

“But it’s the players and staff who deserve tremendous credit for what they have achieved.”

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