JAMES Gray is used to being compared with his dad and he got another reminder of his old man’s reputation on Saturday.
The Stanley striker noticed that Phil, the former Northern Ireland international who also had a stint with Burnley, is one of several formerOxford players to have their name on the tunnel at the Kassam Stadium.
And James went on to do his dad proud by upsetting his former club.
After making Stanley’s opener, the 21-year-old scored the game’s decisive goal in the second half.
And having been let go by Middlesbrough before playing in non-league, Gray knows some will be as surprised to see him succeeding as they are to see the Reds staying up.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, when someone says you can’t do something and you go and prove them wrong,” he said. “People have said I’ll never be a footballer and that’s why I play, to prove them wrong.
“We were favourites to go down and not winning after 12 games, everyone had written us off. I think that’s what spurred us on, people saying ‘Accrington have gone’. I think that’s why we ended up staying in this division.”
Although Gray was involved in last season’s survival mission, he’s made a far greater contribution this term.
“It’s been a more satisfying season for me personally, with getting more goals and playing more games,” he said. “But everyone is buzzing and I’m so happy for the coaches and the players.
“The gaffer’s put a lot of faith in me. I hadn’t scored for a while but I’d been playing well so it was getting to me a bit.
“But the gaffer stuck with me and I ended up getting the winning goal today so I’ve got to give him and the coaches a lot of credit because they’ve kept me going.”
Gray was briefly the boo-boy for the home fans for the part he played in Kayode Odejayi’s opener.
“The defender came across me and I think he ran into me rather than me tripping him,” Gray explained. “It was just a coming together. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t, so I just carried on. I probably should have scored or squared it but luckily Kay put the rebound in.”