IT is fair to say that, as opponents, Oxford provided the high and low points for Argyle last season.Ten months ago, in the city of dreaming spires, a Fletchling side still in administration and containing seven teenagers was handed a lesson, losing 5-1.
As recently as late April, though, a 1-1 draw between the same – but radically different – teams saw tears on the terraces at Home Park as the Pilgrims dodged their second bullet of the season and secured their Football League status.
Not surprisingly, Carl Fletcher played down any idea of revenge for the October embarrassment.
“We probably did that when we played them here and got the result we needed to stay up,” he said.
“I think you have to be careful with things like ‘revenge’ because you lose sight of what you need to do in your game-plan, but obviously we want to go there and make sure we give a good account of ourselves.”
The memory of last season’s evening class at the Kassam remain clear, however.
“It’s one of those games that you learn from and try to use to your advantage,” said Fletch.
“We had a real young side. Matty [Matt Lecointe] and Simsy [Jared Sims] played up front and I think Matty was 16 at the time, Simsy was just 18.
“We had Durrell [Berry], [Luke] Young, Nelse [Curtis Nelson], Ben Gibson, Jamie Griffiths – they were all 18-19.
“We did alright for an hour, and then we let our heads drop a little bit, which is understandable when you’re young.
“The lads that played last year and are still involved this year will have taken a lot from it.”
Oxford are perched on top of the two-game old npower League 2 table, which suggests that they will be a force in the division again.
Fletch said: 2They have had a good start. They were a good side last year and it’s a real good club.
“They have had a couple of seasons when they have not been far off the play-offs and I am sure they will be looking to push on again this season.
“They are very versatile and have some great attacking options. They will put you under pressure and have large periods of the game when they will probably have possession.
“So it is vitally important that we know what we’re doing when we don’t have the ball, as well as what we do when we do have it.
“It will be a real tough test for us. It is a big pitch, nice stadium, and we will be looking forward to going there.
“It’s always nice to play in big stadiums and, in our division, this is definitely one of them.”