Oxford hope Rix will do the trick for promotion

The former Chelsea coach Graham Rix begins his short-term brief as Oxford United manager with a crunch match against the Third Division leaders Doncaster Rovers today, insisting he will do "whatever it takes" to clinch promotion.

The former Chelsea coach Graham Rix begins his short-term brief as Oxford United manager with a crunch match against the Third Division leaders Doncaster Rovers today, insisting he will do "whatever it takes" to clinch promotion.

The Oxford chairman Firoz Kassam hired Rix this week after suspending the manager Ian Atkins, who Bristol Rovers say will be their manager next season. Atkins built his success around fairly rigid, direct tactics, whereas Rix has a reputation for favouring a passing game.

But the former Arsenal and England midfielder said he would ask his new charges to employ whatever tactics that were appropriate.

"I want us to get promoted, that's all," Rix said. "If we have to do that by kicking it 80 yards, we'll do it by kicking it 80 yards. If we do it by playing football, we'll do it by playing football. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the response from the players has been good. This is a massive game to start with."

Rix takes over an Oxford side that have slipped from their perch, having led the table at the turn of the year, but who still have sound prospects for a play-off place. After suffering only one defeat in their opening 26 games - at Doncaster, at it happens - the U's have been beaten five times in their last 11, but Rix said: "Oxford have been towards the top of the table all season and have a great chance of going up."

Bristol City, who travel to Port Vale, have turned back the clock in the hope of recharging their challenge for direct promotion from the Second Division, re-signing last season's top scorer, Scott Murray, only eight months after selling him to Reading for £650,000.

Danny Wilson's side appeared to be mounting a serious threat to Plymouth Argyle and Queen's Park Rangers when they won 11 consecutive matches, but have since won only once in six.

The leaders Plymouth, who take on Wrexham at Home Park attempting to consolidate a seven-point lead, have been urged by one-time assistant manager Kevin Blackwell, now head coach at Leeds, to move for his old Leeds boss Peter Reid to fill their vacant manager's job.

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