Monday 24 October 2016

Hoban hoping to sink Premier Swans

Former Dundalk star Patrick Hoban is hopeful of playing his part for Oxford United in their FA
Cup duel with Swansea (SPORTSFILE)
Former Dundalk star Patrick Hoban is hopeful of playing his part for Oxford United in their FA Cup duel with Swansea (SPORTSFILE)

An FA Cup tie in Oxfordshire on a Sunday is about as English as could be.

But Patrick Hoban, the Irish forward hoping to help Oxford United dump Premier League side Swansea City out of the competition, will look to his own experiences of European football to try and get the better of Swansea and earn a place in the fourth-round draw for a promotion-chasing Oxford side.

It has taken Hoban, now 24, time to settle in at Oxford since he moved from Dundalk at the end of the 2014 League of Ireland season, and this season he's been forced to remain patient. A return of five goals from 29 games in all competitions this season is not a bad one but Hoban has, to his frustration, been used mainly off the bench and has started just two league games.

This cup tie tomorrow brings added focus with the arrival in town of a Premier League side and the TV cameras (Live on Setanta Ireland, 12.00).

Swansea arrive in Oxford having managed just one win in the last ten but their Premier League class could still punish Oxford, so Hoban will treat this game like a European tie.

"I remember playing a side like Hajduk Split in Europe when I was at Dundalk and I'd approach this in the same way," Hoban says. "You expect them to have so much of the ball, you know the quality they have. Top teams, whether that's in Europe or a Premier League side in the FA Cup, will punish you if you make the slightest mistake.

"So if you cut out your own errors and play you own game well, you can get something, as we did with Dundalk when we won away to Hajduk.

"That was a big win for us and I feel we could get a result here tomorrow. Swansea are a top-class side, they keep the ball well, but so were Hajduk and we won in Croatia as we had freedom to play, " added Hoban, the ex-Dundalk man aware that Swansea ran Manchester United pretty close at Old Trafford only last month.

"The fact that the game is on TV is an added bonus, this will be my first time to play on live TV since I came to England, hopefully a few of the pubs back home will have the game on.

"But my main hope is that I start the game, I haven't had too many starts this season so it'd be nice to start, get a goal and get us into the next round. We will be wary of them but we're not afraid of them."

Hoban feels he had adapted well to life in England after his start at Oxford was delayed due to injury but is keen to prove his worth.

"I deserve to be here, I want to make a go of it and I want to play at as high a level as possible, I'm very ambitious," he added.

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