Mullins: Oxford United still fully focused on getting to Wembley
31st January 2016

Oxford United defender Johnny Mullins insists the League Two side will not wallow following their FA Cup fourth-round exit to Blackburn Rovers as the U’s have the perfect opportunity to redeem themselves with a trip to Wembley Stadium in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final.

Michael Appleton’s side, who were easily thrown aside by their Championship opponents 3-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Kassam Stadium, have a quick turnaround with United heading into Tuesday night’s clash against League One Millwall in their Area Final second-leg holding an encouraging 2-0 lead.

14 November 2015 - Sky Bet League Two  - Oxford v Cambridge - Johnny Mullins of Oxford United - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Johnny Mullins is adamant Oxford’s FA Cup fourth-round exit will not dampen the team’s spirits ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie.

“We are disappointed with today, but we have got a massive game on Tuesday,” said Mullins.

“This is all done now [FA Cup]. We have had a really good run and it has been nice whilst it lasted.

“But we are not going to let it wallow too much. We will focus fully on Tuesday for a massive game and we all know what could happen at the end of the day.

“We are going to treat [Millwall] as a one-off game of football and a chance to get to Wembley.”

Goals from Ben Marshall; a confident penalty finish and a wonderful free-kick, either side of half-time, plus a debut goal for Blackburn’s latest arrival Tony Watt, helped Rovers breeze into the fifth-round of the tournament, even without their talisman Jordan Rhodes.

The Scotland international left the team’s hotel late on Friday night after Championship leaders Middlesbrough reportedly agreed a fee with Paul Lambert’s side to sign the 25-year-old for a reported £9m.

When asked whether the absence of Rhodes; a former Oxford loanee back in 2007, gave the home side a greater chance of causing another cup upset yesterday afternoon, Mullins replied, “No. We knew what they were all about.

“We have watched them and knew what their strengths and weaknesses are.

“Fair play to them, they pressed us high and perhaps we should have worked that out and bypassed it a little bit.

“But they have come here and won 3-0, that is the way it goes. We are disappointed, but I cant keep harping on about it.”

The Yellows, who were the giant killers in the third-round of the FA Cup earlier this month after defeating Premier League outfit Swansea City 3-2 at the Kassam, also waved goodbye to defender George Baldock ahead of his expected departure.

The 22-year-old right-back, who has scored two goals in 34 appearances in all competitions for Appleton’s side this campaign, is due to return to parent club Milton Keynes Dons after manager Karl Robinson confirmed the Championship club will be recalling the defender from his season-long loan spell.

After watching Baldock leave the pitch to a standing ovation in the dying embers of the match, Mullins praised the fellow defender’s impact he has had on United’s successful season so far.

“He has been absolutely awesome,” he said.

11 August 2015 - Capital One Cup - First Round - Brentford v Oxford United - George Baldock of Oxford United - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Oxford’s George Baldock in action against Championship outfit Brentford in the first-round of the Capital One Cup back in August.

“He has been a pleasure to play with. I think he has got a hell of a career in front of him and I look forward to watching him blossom.

“It was nice he got his ovation at the end. He enjoyed playing with us and the feeling is mutual.

“But Jonjoe [Kenny] came on and I think you can see that he has got real quality. I am looking forward to playing with him.”

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