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Oxford United boss says Leven can be best in League Two
The Scot has endured a frustrating start to the season following surgery to correct shoulder and knee problems during the summer.
Recovery saw him miss the whole of pre-season and the first month of the campaign.
Since returning, Leven has steadily increased his playing time and last week started back-to-back games for the first time since April, lining up against Rochdale and Wycombe Wanderers.
Leven’s comeback has been a big boost to United, bringing much-needed experience to the side, who have responded with more consistent performances.
Wilder is delighted to have the former Glasgow Rangers trainee available again and believes once fully fit, no-one in League Two can match him.
He said: “You could see, even when he came on for half-an-hour against Accrington (a 5-0 win) why we want to get him out on the pitch.
“When he gets rolling, arguably he’ll be the best midfield player in the league.
“I don’t see a better player in the league if he gets fit. I’m sure when we get there he’ll be a major player for us.”
The knee injury remains a slight concern for United, forcing Leven to withdraw from the squad at short notice for the trip to Port Vale earlier this month.
Wilder admitted it was a situation which needs to be monitored closely, but has been encouraged by the amount of football the creative player has accumulated in the last month.
He said: “I think it might be a long-term thing that he might have to be managed, but now I’m getting good minutes out of him he’s ready to go on.”
Leven will be needed this Saturday (November 3), with United facing the loss of two key midfielders for the FA Cup first-round tie at Barnet.
Loan pair Jake Forster-Caskey and Lee Cox could be ruled out if their parent clubs do not want them cup-tied.
United are attempting to gain permission this week, along with fellow loanees Johnny Mullins and Daniel Boateng.
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