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INTERVIEW: We want to finish the season on a high

29 April 2016

Team captain Danny Grainger ahead of the Oxford game

Team captain Danny Grainger spoke to us ahead of the last home game of the season as automatic promotion chasing Oxford United prepare to visit Brunton Park.

“The win at Crawley was massive,” he said. “We went down there and we knew it would be a tough game. The pitch didn't suit how we wanted to play but I think we could have scored a few more goals. It was just good to get the win in the end. 

“Apart from one or two great saves from Mark Gillespie I don't think he had much to do. We dominated possession and we were the better team by a mile.” 

“My shot that Mark Ellis managed to put over the bar was definitely going in as far as I’m concerned,” he insisted. “I think it was probably going just past the post, if I'm being honest, but the important thing is that we're getting into those positions. It was disappointing not to win by more but it was nice to get a clean sheet. 

“It would have been easy for the lads to take their foot off the gas once it was confirmed we couldn't go up because people can start looking forward to their summer holidays, but we're all still disappointed. We really had the ambition of getting promoted this year. 

“We said from day one that there was something inside the dressing room and there was no reason why we couldn't get promoted. Since Christmas we just haven't been good enough. There are no excuses, we just haven't been good enough. We all felt that with the squad we have we should have been getting promoted.”

“I think there has been too many games since Christmas that we've looked back on and thought 'if we'd have won that we would have been in the play-offs' or 'if we'd won that we would have only been one point away'. There are too many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ that have held us back this season.”

“We want to finish the season on a high,” he continued. “We put in a good performance against Crawley and we want to do the same in front of our own fans on Saturday so that we can sign off on a positive note. 

“We'll go to Notts County and try to put a performance in down there which means we will finish as high up the table as we can. 

“Oxford will obviously be coming here looking for the win to try and cement their place in the automatic places, so we'll try and spoil their party. We know they'll bring a lot of fans up who will be expecting a bit of a celebration. 

“We want to say thank you to our fans as well. They've kept right behind us all season and put a lot of miles in. I was talking to Dolly the other day and he was saying it's the most miles he's done in a season and here's been around a long time. The fans have been right behind us all the way so we want to sign off with a good result.”

Looking ahead to next season, he said: “Last season wasn't acceptable and this season we've put down a marker. We need to make sure we kick on again and make sure we go one step further next year and either get into the play-offs or the automatic promotion places.

“I think we’re all learning as we go on and I know I'm learning every day. I've played different roles this season, in midfield and at wing back, which I haven't done for a long time. I'm enjoying my football and hopefully next season I can kick on and produce a few more goals.”

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