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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Oxford could be marching to Wembley

Oxford celebrate during the FA Cup game against Middlesbrough
1 of 1

EFL Trophy Semi-Final
Sky Sports 3, 7.45pm Wednesday

Cup heroes Oxford blew it at the last in the 2015-16 Checkatrade Trophy but they can give themselves another shot at Wembley glory by winning at Luton in the second semi-final.

Oxford can do no wrong in knockout competition. Since reaching the final of this event 11 months ago when they lost to Barnsley, they have beaten Birmingham in the League Cup, Rotherham and Newcastle in the FA Cup and booked this fixture by seeing off Sky Bet League One high-fliers Scunthorpe and Bradford.

With 18 clean sheets they know how to defend and they are also masters in the art of counter-attacking football – Michael Appleton’s men have won seven of their last nine away games.

So they’re going to fancy their chances at Sky Bet League Two side Luton, who are also going well in their division.

Nathan Jones’s men, spearheaded by Danny Hylton, who scored for Oxford in last year’s final defeat to Barnsley, are unbeaten in six.

Their last two matches were gruelling 1-1 draws with promotion rivals Doncaster and Plymouth and Jones will make changes in light of the workload. Appleton, whose own team have put cup distractions aside to move into promotion contention, will also make changes to the team who romped to a 4-0 win at Chesterfield on Saturday.

Recommendation
Oxford
1pt 17-10 Betfred, BoyleSports, Hills

Bet on this match at soccerbase.com


Team news
Luton
Right-back Stephen O’Donnell (ankle) is a doubt. Midfielder Lawson D’Ath and striker Ollie Palmer are cup-tied. Akin Famewo, Danny Green and Cameron McGeehan are out.

Oxford
Rob Hall (hamstring) misses out. Wes Thomas and Aaron Martin are long-term absentees. Loanees Toni Martinez, Conor McAleny and Charlie Raglan are cup-tied.

Key Stat
Oxford have kept 18 clean sheets in all competitions this season

With 18 clean sheets they know how to defend and they are also masters in the art of counter-attacking football
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