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Burton Albion: Oxford United boss Michael Appleton bemoans lack of cutting edge

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 11, 2014

EYES ON THE BALL ... Dominic Knowles challenges Josh Ruffels.

EYES ON THE BALL ... Dominic Knowles challenges Josh Ruffels.

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MICHAEL Appleton has called on Oxford United's creative players to give him more after defeat to Burton Albion on the opening day of the season.

The U's drew a blank as the Brewers won 1-0 through Lucas Akins' first-half goal to make it a miserable first game in charge for Appleton.

Albion were largely comfortable against Oxford's forward players at the Kassam Stadium.

Only Alfie Potter, in flashes, looked dangerous, with Burton dealing well with the likes of Junior Brown, Danny Rose and on-loan striker Carlton Morris.

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Appleton does not want to undermine the confidence of his attacking players, but has demanded more from them.

"It's one of them where we've got quality players at the club and we can talk about bringing other players in, but that'd be doing a disservice to the likes of Alfie Potter, Danny Rose and these players that are in the building already," said the former Blackpool and Blackburn boss.

"You've got to be careful, but players in the side to create or give us that little bit of magic around the edge of the box are the ones who have to step up to the plate.

"It's dead simple. They all know their roles and I made that very, very clear.

"They will be accountable, as I will, when they make poor decisions."

Albion scored the only goal of the game while Oxford defender Michael Raynes was still groggy after a clash of heads.

The defender insisted on staying on the field but was culpable as Stuart Beavon set up Lucas Akins for the winner.

Appleton brought Raynes off straight after the goal and says he should have withdrawn him earlier.

"It's difficult when a player wants to stay on the field, especially a centre-half, with the kind of make-up they have to play in that position," he said.

"But ultimately, after that it's up to us to break them down and we tried and we probed but ultimately we lacked that bit of bravery around the edge of the box."

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