SWINDON Town manager John Sheridan says his team will try to go and beat Oxford United “for the fans” when the pair meet at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon.

Town travel to Oxfordshire to face Karl Robinson’s men for the first time since 2017 – a game that was pushed back several weeks anyway after Covid-related issues for Swindon at the end of October.

Sheridan has only taken charge of four Town games, with varying degrees of success, but he is already tasked with ending a winless streak against Oxford in the league that stretches back 19 years.

The former Ireland international described his disappointment surrounding the lack of derby-atmosphere to look forward to without the presence of fans, and is therefore all the more hungry to take three points back to Wiltshire for all those watching from home.

Sheridan said: I’m gutted that the supporters won’t be there because the atmosphere is something I would have loved to have seen.

“I’ve heard all about the rivalry, a big mate of mine, Phil King has told me all about it.

“The atmosphere in derby games is usually magnificent, so that’s a real shame, but we will go there with confidence and hoping we can win the game for the supporters.

“That’s what I’ll be telling the players before the game, they know that anyway, but it’s about making sure we get the right result for the fans.”

With Tyler Smith and Diallang Jaiyesimi back in the fold for this afternoon’s game after returning from injury, Sheridan will no doubt be helped in his quest to secure bragging rights over Town’s closest rivals.

And “getting one over” a club’s rivals is something Sheridan has realised is the only thing that matters to fans during a spell in football that has seen him take charge of Plymouth Argyle in a Devon derby and play for Sheffield Wednesday against United.

He said: “I’ve managed in a few derbies over the course of my managerial career.

“Plymouth and Exeter – I was a bit of an outsider for that one, but going there I realised how big that game is, and this derby is exactly the same.

“It’s just a shame the supporters aren’t going to be there because it’s the two biggest games of the season, home and away.

“But all derbies, whether there’s 2,000 in or 90,000 in, a derby is a derby. You want to get one over your closest rivals, and it’s about the bragging rights. I think derbies are about the supporters.”