Michael Appleton is waiting on the fitness of two centre backs as he prepares to pick his first competitive line-up as Oxford United’s head coach.
Johnny Mullins (dead leg) and Jake Wright (ankle) have been nursing minor problems picked up in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves in pre-season.
Aside from long-term absentees goalkeeper Ryan Clarke and midfielder Andy Whing, the defenders are the only players struggling to make the opening game against Burton Albion.
He said: “If they’re both back then happy days, we’ll go into the campaign with a clean bill of health, with the exception of Whingy and Clarkey.
“I’m certainly not expecting both of them to be fit, if they are it would be a big bonus, but if we can get one of them fit I’d be delighted.”
Even if the pair are fit, Michael Raynes is pushing for a start in the heart of defence after a strong pre-season.
In addition to a host of signings in line to make their competitive bows today, another debutant looks set to be Jon Meades.
The midfielder signed more than a year ago, but was unavailable for the whole of last season after sustaining a serious ankle injury.
Burton, who have reached the play-offs for the past two seasons, will be without Damien McCrory, Jimmy Phillips and Lee Bell, who all have knee injuries.
Oxford Utd: from G Long, Riley, Raynes, Wright, Newey, Collins, Meades, Potter, Brown, Hylton, Morris, Roberts, O’Dowda, Rose, Shama, Ruffels, Ashby, Hunt, S Long, Mullins, Crocombe.
Burton: from McLaughlin, Edwards, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, Taft, Akins, Weir, Mousinho, MacDonald, McGurk, Beavon, Kee, Harness, Palmer, Lyness, Knowles, McFadzean, Slade, Doyle.
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Latest United news:
9:30am Saturday 31st January 2015
Danny Hylton has warned Oxford United will get “eaten alive” at Stevenage today unless they match their hosts’ appetite for a battle.
8:30am Saturday 31st January 2015
Oxford United are likely to hand debuts to full backs Joe Skarz and Richard Brindley at Stevenage this afternoon.
2:00pm Friday 30th January 2015
DANNY Hylton is reluctant to make predictions about his scoring tally but acknowledged he would be disappointed if this season was not the best of his career in front of goal.
12:40pm Friday 30th January 2015
Oxford United travel to Stevenage tomorrow and here are all our stories previewing the match in an interactive graphic.
9:30am Friday 30th January 2015
RICHARD Brindley is raring to make his Oxford United debut at Stevenage tomorrow after joining on loan yesterday.