Plans to improve the Oxford United squad in January hinge on the result of tomorrow’s FA Cup replay against Accrington Stanley.
U’s boss Chris Wilder is keen to bolster his squad when the transfer window re-opens, but the scope for change is likely to rest on the outcome of the second-round replay at the Kassam Stadium.
At stake is £27,000 in prize-money, plus a third-round tie at home to Sheffield United next month.
Win and United may have room to significantly strengthen for the second half of the campaign, lose and they could be hamstrung.
Wilder admitted it made the game hugely important.
He said: “It is for me because I want to look at the squad.
"Obviously we have had a couple of loan signings (Lee Cox and Jake Forster-Caskey) and we have decisions to make on them, whether we extend them into the new year, and we’ll look around at what else is available.
“A lot of it is governed by finances and I’d like to be in a position that if we do progress in the FA Cup it would give us a little bit more to go and get a bit more quality.
"I have to make sure that recruitment is right in January and Wednesday does play a big part towards that.”
U’s chairman Ian Lenagan had said before Johnny Mullins’s loan was recalled last month the wage budget was close to the League Two salary cap.
Wilder is mindful of the restrictions, but believes getting through to the FA Cup third round, along with an area semi-final tie at home to Southend in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, should free up some funds.
He said: “There’s always the salary cap and you have to abide by that, but I’d like to think the money we’ve earned through the FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy will go towards squad strengthening.”
United are waiting to see if Simon Heslop will be available for the Accrington clash.
The midfielder received a red card for a tackle in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Aldershot, but after reviewing the footage Wilder appealed yesterday.
He said: “I’ve looked at it and it’s ridiculous in my eyes.
“Hessy went chasing the ball and made a genuine attempt to win it.
“The referee talked to me afterwards about him jumping in, but there was none of that, so hopefully the panel will see it and rescind it.”