Hoops’ Head For New Heights Holds No Fears For Ross

There aren’t too many managers out there who help their players earn two promotion winners‘ medals in the same division inside three weeks.

There are even fewer that can perform such wizardry aged just 32-years-old.

But Ross Jenkins hasn’t shied away from the big calls since talking the Oxford City job in March 2022.

With the club needing a keeper a fortnight before the end, an emergency loan was required - and the champions hardly needed one of theirs!

Ebbsfleet United stopper Chris Haigh already has a medal around his next after lifting the National League South title and clearly fancied another.

“He’s got two now so he’s very happy,” the manager explained.

“Not too many players win the title and the play-offs in the same division in one season, it must be a first!

“He gives us that calmness and experience at the back and made a really important save for us in the final early on. If that goes in, who knows what happens next.”

That was before Oxford’s attacking players really took over.

They didn’t look back after St Albans City started brightly in the National League South Promotion Final.

Strangling the Saints before half-time, it’s also another recent first - when has a game of that size been dead and buried before half-time?

“I thought we could have had another one if I’m being honest!” he said.

“But 4-0 in a Promotion Final before half-time? I think you’d take that! I was really pleased by the clean sheet but to be four ahead at half-time, brilliant. There were still nerves of course, but what a way to do it.

“The boys put a real shift in and they can walk off knowing they’ve done something fantasfic.”

Writing the most famous chapter in the club’s 140 year history, they will be dining from the same table at the likes of Chesterfield, Oldham Athletic and Southend United.

But their promotion shouldn’t be seen as a surprise, the young boss says.

“It was a big, big moment for the football club and I was so delighted to be a part of it,” he added.

“They say it at most places but at a club like Oxford it really is a team effort.

“It’s been in sight all season. It’s not a shock, it’s not come by chance, we have worked really hard for this.

“The boys have given themselves the chance and it’s been week-by-week progress.”

He knows why heading up to Step 1 for the first time ever will be important personally for a number of his squad.

“We’ve got a lot of local boys here,” he went on. “They are very proud we’re going to be off to some big grounds next season and so they should be.

“We know what’s in front of us and we’ll give it a good go.

“It’s going to be an ask but we’ve got more than enough to cope with certain situations. But that’s one to tackle later.

“The club should celebrate its achievement because it has been many years in the making.”

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