Oxford United manager Michael Appleton wants strong start
Oxford United manager Michael Appleton has stressed the importance of a strong start to the League Two season to his players and staff.
The 39-year-old has set his sights on a promotion challenge in his second season in charge of the club.
After a slow start, Oxford finished last season 13th in the division.
"We've made it clear the next five games are massively key to what's hopefully going to be a massive season for us," he told BBC Radio Oxford.
"Getting off to a good start is crucial no matter how good you are.
"We don't want to play catch-up as early as the first three or four games."
Appleton has brought in a number of new faces in a bid to build on a strong finish to the 2014/15 campaign and to improve competition for places.
"Last year it took us seven games before we picked up three points," he added. "We don't want to find ourselves in that position again."