19 October 2019 14:44
JOSH Ruffels is calling on Oxford United to relish the underdog tag when they begin their campaign at title favourites Sunderland today. The U's kick off their 2019/20 Sky Bet League One bid against last season's beaten play-off finalists, who are expected to be backed by a bumper crowd at the Stadium of Light, with ticket sales predicted to break the 30,000 mark. United will have an impressive turnout themselves, with a large following making the trip to Wearside. Karl Robinson's side, who have this week been boosted by the triple signing of Ben Woodburn, Anthony Forde and Elliott Moore, arrived in Sunderland yesterday in a confident mood. They twice held the Black Cats to 1-1 draws last season and defender Ruffels believes the U's can use those experiences to their benefit.
"It's a great game to start," said the 25-year-old, who is set to make his 222nd appearance for the club this afternoon. "We played really well there last season and got a great result out of it, so hopefully we can do the same. "It's a great stadium, there will no doubt be a full house, so I can't wait. "It's nice to be the underdog and you usually come away with something when you're under no pressure, so fingers crossed that happens." Ruffels, who has been handed the No 3 shirt, heads into the new campaign off the back of a busy pre-season. He played more minutes than any other United player – 525 – and is heading into his first full campaign as a left back.
United have no injury worries, with Jamie Hanson recovering from a knock which saw him miss last weekend's draw at Solihull Moors. The only senior player not to travel is Shandon Baptiste, who has been given the weekend off before starting full-time training next week after working overtime through the summer to recover from knee surgery. Sunderland will be without captain George Honeyman, with the midfielder on the verge of a move to Championship side Hull City. Aiden McGeady, Chris Maguire and Duncan Watmore have proved their fitness, but Charlie Wyke (ankle) is set to miss out. TOMORROW'S SQUADS Sunderland: from J McLaughlin, C McLaughlin, Hume, Willis, Flanagan, Leadbitter, Kimpioka, McGeouch, Grigg, Embleton, Gooch, Dobson, McNulty, Power, O'Nien, McGeady, Maguire, Watmore.
Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Cadden, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffels, Gorrin, Brannagan, Napa, Henry, Fosu, Mackie, Moore, Woodburn, Forde, Sykes, Hall, Long, Hanson, McMahon, Stevens, Lopes, Lofthouse. l Karl Robinson column: P30 Gavin Whyte joined Oxford from Crusaders in July 2018 Gavin Whyte has joined Cardiff City from Oxford United for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £2m. Whyte, 23, scored nine goals for United last season and has won five Northern Ireland caps, scoring with his first touch on his international debut. He had been at Oxford for one season after joining from Belfast club Crusaders in July 2018. Whyte is Cardiff's fifth signing of the summer following Joe Day, Aiden Flint, Curtis Nelson and Will Vaulks. Manager Neil Warnock is poised to add striker Robert Glatzel to the list. The German striker is in Cardiff for a medical ahead of a potential £5.5m move from Bundesliga Two club Heidenheim. Whyte's former club Crusaders are understood to be poised to benefit from a sell-on clause negotiated when the player joined Oxford. Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page. Get the biggest daily stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Cardiff City have announced the signing of Northern Ireland winger Gavin Whyte. Whyte joins the Bluebirds from Oxford United on a four-year contract, subject to international clearance. The 23-year-old made a total of 47 league appearances during his time with Oxford, scoring nine goals. The former Crusaders winger told Cardiff City TV: "I'm delighted. Cardiff boss Neil Warnock added: "I watched a lot of Gavin while we were scouting Curtis Nelson. Oxford head coach Karl Robinson said: "We wish Gavin all the luck in the world on his move. "He's a fantastic footballer and has been a great servant to the football club and I'm sure he will do very well at Cardiff. We wish him all the best for the future." How to follow us on social media Here's our main Belfast Live Facebook page. On Twitter, you can follow our account by clicking here. If you're a lover of photos, then check out our Instagram. We've also got dedicated Facebook pages for North, South, East and West Belfast. Sports fans can find all the latest local action over on our Belfast Live Sport Facebook and Twitter and also on Match Online on both Facebook and Twitter. Keep up-to-date with all the very latest news, what's on, sport and everything else in Belfast and beyond with the Belfast Live app. Only select news that interests you by picking the topics you want to display on the app's homepage. Plus, our enhanced user experience includes live blogs, video, interactive maps and slick picture galleries. Download it now and get involved. Click here to get it from the App Store or here for Google Play. Get the biggest Weekday Cardiff City FC stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Cardiff City have completed a move for Oxford United winger Gavin Whyte. The 23-year-old has signed a four-year deal at the club and joins for an undisclosed fee. The winger becomes Cardiff's sixth signing of the summer, following on from Will Vaulks, Curtis Nelson, Joe Day, Aaron Bolger and Aden Flint. Whyte scored nine goals for Oxford United last season, and has so far won five international caps for Northern Ireland, having scored on his international debut with his first touch last September. Speaking to the club's official website, Whyte said: "I'm delighted. When I first heard about the move, I couldn't wait to come here. "I give 100% - I'm a hard worker, I'm positive, I like to go forward and take players on... "Now I can't wait to get the kit on, play as many games as I can and help this great Club to be where they need to be." Boss Neil Warnock added: "I watched a lot of Gavin while we were scouting Curtis Nelson. "He just excited me so much. He's full of enthusiasm and is just the type of player that we were looking for. "I think he'll be a fans' favourite for years to come." Nottingham Forest were also reportedly interested in making a move earlier in the summer, but Whyte has opted to join the Bluebirds, who remain confident of confirming a deal for German striker Robert Glatzel. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in 8 Cancel Play now It's understood that the player is currently in the Welsh capital and is set to undergo a medical ahead of a £5.5m move. Meanwhile, Oxford are reportedly set to replace Whyte with Wales and Liverpool starlet Ben Woodburn. The 19-year-old is desperate for regular game time this season and is believed to be set to move on loan to the Kassam Stadium, having endured a disappointing stint at Sheffield United last term. Northern Ireland international Gavin Whyte has signed a four-year contract with Cardiff City. The former Crusaders winger scored seven goals in 36 league appearances with Oxford United but has now made the switch, subject to international clearance, for an undisclosed fee. "I'm delighted," said Whyte on the official Cardiff City website. "When I first heard about the move, I couldn't wait to come here. "I give 100 per cent - I'm a hard worker, I'm positive, I like to go forward and take players on... "Now I can't wait to get the kit on, play as many games as I can and help this great Club to be where they need to be." City manager Neil Warnock told the club website: "I watched a lot of Gavin while we were scouting Curtis Nelson. "He just excited me so much. "He's full of enthusiasm and is just the type of player that we were looking for. "I think he'll be a fans' favourite for years to come."