Phil Parkinson has updated fans ahead of this Saturday's trip down to the Kassam Stadium for a crucial clash against Karl Robinson's Oxford United who reached the playoffs last season. The gaffer previewed the match as well as providing injury and transfer updates.

Phil Parkinson Oxford Preview

"Without a doubt, it’s a good chance for us, but the last time we went there they spoke about how many injuries they had and we turned up and there weren’t quite as many, we don’t want to get lulled into that too much. I believe if we play how we can play, and how we have done really – but improve in that final third – then we’ll have a great chance. I went down to see the game against Watford on Tuesday. They (Oxford) should have won it in normal time. They will be frustrated with a (2-0) defeat to Lincoln (last week), they had a lot of the ball and dominated possession, but came away with nothing. They are a team who did well last year, ended up in the play-offs, but didn’t get over the finish line. We know they’ve got some decent players, but we went there last year and got a victory. Last week we went through what we needed to do better, in terms of making more of our dominance in terms of possession. A higher percentage of our final ball has to have a return in chances created. The first five or six games are very important and we want to make sure we’re right at the top of the table.”

Parkinson on Transfer Latest

“We get a lot of players pushed to us and we spend a lot of time going through them in our system, our analyst will look at them and then to say to us, 'we really need to look at this one'. Mateo (Bajamich) was definitely in that category, U21, has pace, so we looked at him. But it was always going to be difficult to do a deal because the minute a couple of clubs are in for a player, the price goes up to a level that becomes a little bit too much. I'm speaking to agents and clubs all the time about U21 players and players that could become available. We'll make sure we look at everything but we're pleased in general with what we've got. It's such a difficult balancing act because we have a limited amount left to spend, purely because of the salary cap. We've got to spend it wisely but of course, the U21s don't count so we're searching as well for a player or two in that category who can give us a lift. They've got to be better than what we've got and as I've said all along about bringing players in on loan, we've got good young players. Anyone who comes in on loan has got to be someone with a good chance of improving our starting XI because we've got good young players ourselves, the squad is looking decent now. You always want one or two more, there are one or two areas where I'd like us to be a bit stronger, but it's definitely getting there. We've got options, we've got players out of the team at the moment who could easily come in and stay in the team. Last year, when we had that good run, the XI was almost picking itself. I feel we've got that competition this season, but we've got to get the lads who've come in a bit late up to speed as well, both in terms of their fitness and where they come into the team.”

PP on the Youth Teams

"With those lads, they are going to be needed and they are going to get chances, after these first few weeks, the games come thick and fast with a lot of midweek matches, and I am confident that if they get their chance, they will take it. We wouldn't be keeping Jack with us if we didn't feel that, when an opportunity arises, we will give him a chance. Of course there is frustration [that they haven't been involved yet] but the senior players have to do their bit to keep hold of the shirt at the moment. Those players will be staying with us until January to see if they can force their way into the first team. The first team is the most important thing, obviously, but we also want to make our U23 side stronger and so when that team goes out on a night or on a Monday afternoon or whenever the game might be, it has to have a fighting chance. We've brought players in to strengthen up that team - Josh Hawkes and Kenton Richardson from Hartlepool, Morgan Feeney from Everton who we expect to push for the first team and several others - that's important for the progression of the club and particularly for the academy. And when you've got U18 players who are good enough to step into that team, it is very difficult to do that if they are getting beaten convincingly every week so it should help there too. It's important for the progression of the academy because if you have players in the U18 team who you want to step up, it's very difficult when that U23 team is being beaten convincingly every week. I really want to see that team be competitive.”

The Boss’ Injury Update

“There’s nothing major to have to worry about, Grant Leadbitter picked up a dead leg earlier in the week, but he should be okay. Josh Scowen has not been with us, he’s had a family bereavement and was at a funeral, but everybody else has been fine, which is good. Elliot (Embleton) is making progress, we hope he will be training next week but he'll need a few U23 games before he can put himself up for selection because he hasn't played for a long time.”

Parky’s COVID Update

"We got tested a couple of weeks ago, and that was the last test that was scheduled for everybody, obviously it’s just the same and if anyone has any of the symptoms then straight away they would be tested. As a group that was the last EFL guidelines – to have that test then and we’ve not got any more planned. We’ve got the temperature check every morning when we come in, and we’re doing everything we can around the training ground to keep it as a bubble, nobody from the outside is coming in and we’re making sure that players are social distancing when they are sat in the dressing rooms, with their masks on when we’re in team meetings, and things like that. Our doctor has gone through everything we need to do and we’re trying to follow it, which I think is important. My thoughts are with everybody in the area who has the virus, or who knows somebody with it, we just want to do our but to lift everybody at the weekend because it’s tough times, it really is, and everybody has to do everything they can to help themselves, their close friends and to make sure we control this virus as much as we can. At the moment, it doesn’t seem to be going away.” Middlesbrough are among several teams who will host fans this weekend, 1000 Boro supporters will be allowed in the Riverside for their Championship clash with AFC Bournemouth, there have been talks of a similar pilot at the Stadium of Light, Phil Parkinson said on this matter, "There was talk of it, but I don’t feel we’ve got anything scheduled in to do that, I’m not sure why, whether there’s just been a select group of clubs that have been picked for that.”