EFL Trophy final: Oxford United boss Michael Appleton understands fans snub

Small number of Bradford City fans at EFL Trophy match at Oxford United
Sparse crowds have been evident throughout this season's EFL Trophy

Oxford United manager Michael Appleton has said he understands some supporters choosing to boycott the EFL Trophy final at Wembley on Sunday.

Appleton's side will face Coventry with a crowd of more than 70,000 expected.

But this season's revamped competition format featuring Premier League and Championship Under-21 teams has drawn heavy criticism and protests from fans.

"I get the frustrations and I shared them at the start of the competition," Appleton told BBC Radio Oxford.

He added: "I was quite open about what I thought regarding the under-21 sides.

"I'm not for getting into too much political waffle with people, but if they feel they want to stay away, then I'll respect their decision. It's not a problem at all."

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey has assured BBC Sport the competition does have a future in its current form.

His defence comes despite a season which has seen record low attendances and a number of clubs fined for picking weakened sides.

But Wembley will host an all-League One final after all 16 of the under-21 sides were eliminated by the quarter-finals.

Oxford are making their second Wembley appearance in as many seasons - they were beaten 3-2 by Barnsley in last year's Johnstone's Paint Trophy final.

"All I can say is we're getting outnumbered a bit by the fans from Coventry," said Appleton, referring to the fact that around 42,500 Sky Blues supporters are expected to attend.

"The more support we can get on the day, the better. All we can promise as a club and as a team is that we'll be going all out to try and win the game and bring a bit of silverware back."

Top Stories