Head coach Joey Barton spoke to the press ahead of his side's Sky Bet League One clash against Oxford United on Saturday.
Barton – who has seen his side win their last two games in the league – will be back at Highbury on Saturday and will be looking to extend their recent run of form in a tough encounter against Karl Robinson’s Yellows.
Here is what Joey had to say ahead of the game:
On Oxford United…
“There’s no doubt about it, Oxford are a top ten side. They are probably suffering, like we did, with a bit of play-off hangover and they’ve also lost a few players as Dickie has gone to QPR and the loan signings that you made have gone back to their parent clubs.
“I think with Jamie Mackie retiring, who is a good friend of mine, will be massive for the dressing room and, speaking from experience, he is such a unique character in terms of the ‘off the field’ demeanor of your group.
“They are in a tough spot, but I watch their game against Charlton, and they were probably the better side. If you watched the game as a neutral, there was only going to be one winner and it wasn’t Charlton.
"We've got a good record against Oxford, I don't think they've ever beaten us and we aim to continue that. We hope to continue our run of form against Oxford and keep upwards trajectory and momentum that we've built in recent weeks against Gillingham and Shrewsbury."
On the squad…
“We were keen to build depth into the squad and that maybe meant that we had to miss out on a few players because of the salary demands in the marketplace. We had to keep within our budget, and this is where our director of football, chief scout, and CEO were really key for us.
“It would be nice to find eleven players to play every game, from start to finish, but that just isn’t modern football. With the EFL Trophy and the FA Cup, you have to have a depth of quality in your side and we feel we’ve done that this year.”
On his management process…
“We were disappointed to not get anything from the Accrington game, I thought the level of performance was worth getting something out of the game.
“You learn from those experiences and you try to make better decisions over your tenure. I think we always knew it would come based on the quality we had. We’ve had to get certain bodies in certain positions that we had been lacking previously.
“We went through a ‘hold your nerve’ period, but we got through it and now we are starting to build a bit of momentum, but we have two tough tests coming up against Oxford and Charlton.”
Watch Joey's interview and more on our iFollow HERE.