Oxford United defender O'Brien's big decision

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

LUKE O’Brien is prepared to miss the birth of his son if his partner goes into labour during Oxford United’s game at Fleetwood Town.

The 24-year-old signed a new contract with the U’s this week and is expected to be included in the squad for the trip to Highbury.

But his preparations for the game have been complicated by the fact his second child was due on Wednesday.

O’Brien’s phone has been allowed into United’s training sessions in case the all-important call came, but so far he has not needed to rush back home to Bradford.

The left back is on standby to drop everything and head north, but the exception will be tomorrow afternoon.

He said: “It can happen any time and you want to be there for the birth of your child – I was there when my first, Madison, came.

“Obviously the gaffer has said if it happens when I’m training I can shoot back home, but there’s a time from 3-5.30pm on Saturday that I’ve said to my partner ‘if you feel like something’s happening I’m going to have to wait until after the game’.

“If I’m playing at Fleetwood I can’t suddenly hold my hand up and say ‘I’ve got a text, I’ve got to run off gaffer because I think my missus is in labour’.

“It’s a small chance, but it could happen.

“Maybe the best time for it to happen would be Saturday night or Sunday when I’m back home.”

O’Brien watched his former teammates at Bradford City reach the Capital One Cup final this week as they knocked out Premier League Aston Villa.

The defender made almost 150 appearances for the Bantams before being released 12 months ago, but he insists there were no mixed feelings this week.

He said: “They’ve done really well and have thoroughly deserved getting to where they are.

“I’ve got no grudges against any of the lads or management, I’m in touch with them and when I went back with Oxford a couple of weeks ago they were all welcoming.

“I’d like to go to the final and watch, I’ll see if my mother-in-law can get some tickets because she works in the offices at the club.”

In-form United, who are looking to record their fifth straight npower League Two victory, will head north today to prepare for the fixture.

Chris Wilder’s side will train at Blackpool ahead of the match.

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