John Coleman knows his side ran the league leaders close – and now he hopes they can halt Oxford United’s promotion charge.
The 14th placed Reds visit the Kassam Stadium tomorrow night looking to bounce back from their late home defeat to table-topping Rotherham United on Saturday.
Karl Robinson’s men, in ninth place, have won their last two games and have enjoyed a strong cup season, getting through to the quarter-final of the EFL Cup where they lost to Manchester City and losing to Newcastle in a fourth round replay in the FA Cup.
“Oxford have got back on track after their FA Cup run and they are probably one of the best teams who have played here,” said Coleman.
“They are a top side, they turned in probably the best performance at our place this season when we drew 2-2 with them and it was a cracking game.
“We know all about them and they will know about us.
“I like Karl, it will be good to see him and have a bit of banter on the sidelines and hopefully get the win.
“He knows good players and he sets them up well, he plays attractive football and he plays football the way I like it to be played so that means it should be a good game, weather permitting.
“Oxford can be a big club and Karl has got them going now and, if he gets them promoted, who knows what they can do in the Championship?”
Coleman admitted he was still ruing the one that got away against the Millers as Ben Wiles scored a 91st minute header to seal the three points for the visitors in a 2-1 win.
“I am frustrated as we have done enough to get something out of the game.
“I spoke to their manager afterwards and he agreed. I would like to see them go on and win it, there are quite a few of our ex-players there and Paul Warne is a good fella, I would like to see them get promoted.
“The thing is we have pushed them all the way and they are top of the league so it shows you that we have improved.
“The fact I am disappointed we didn’t win and disappointed we didn’t get something out of the game against the league leaders shows how far we have come.
“We know we can compete against the better teams and we have got to keep doing it.
“The first goal was a set-piece and that’s annoying. We had defended them really well before and after that.
“The second is a ball into the box that we should deal with, there are around four mistakes and if one doesn’t get made we get something out of the game.
“The players were disappointed as well but you could see the effort the lads put in, there were some big performances out there in horrendous conditions again.”
Coleman may shake it up again but he hopes the weather dies down for Wolves loan striker Benny Ashley-Seal to show his best.
“I feel for Benny as he has played three games for us and every game has been in a gale force wind, it’s difficult for a striker to do anything on a windy day.
“Hopefully the wind will settle down and we will see the best out of him.”
Jerome Opoku is still carrying a knock while defender Mark Hughes will have a late fitness test on a calf injury.