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Des Buckingham: Oxford boss says Bolton hiding propelled U’s to promotion

Written by on May 18, 2024

Oxford boss Des Buckingham says their Championship promotion was inspired by lessons learned from a thumping – by their play-off final opponents Bolton.

Just two months after being thrashed 5-0 at Bolton in the regular League One season, the U’s completely snuffed out the Trotters in Saturday’s Wembley showpiece.

Ian Evatt’s Wanderers, who had finished third in the table, failed to register a shot on target as Oxford ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

“You might not believe me but I never watched that 5-0 defeat back at Bolton – and I never want to see that game again,” Buckingham told BBC Sport.

“That scoreline was a massive changing point for us in what we want to do.”

Following that humbling defeat on 12 March, Oxford tightened up significantly to finish in fifth place and seal a spot in the play-offs.

Indeed, they have conceded just five goals across the 11 games since – as many as they did that Tuesday evening.

“We had to come into this final with a gameplan and, with that, I thought we stifled a very good team,” added Oxford-born Buckingham.

“To take the club to the Championship and do it the way we did against a strong Bolton side, I’m delighted.”

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