ANDY Whing overcame a big hurdle in his recovery from a long-term injury by joining in with a first-team training session yesterday.
It was the first time the Oxford United midfielder had taken part since tearing muscles in his groin during the 3-1 win at Mansfield Town in November.
Since then, Whing has undergone three operations, first to repair the damage and then to correct problems with the wound healing.
The 29-year-old is still some way from becoming available for selection, but just seeing him out training was a boost for caretaker manager Mickey Lewis.
He said: “It’s the first time Whingy has joined in for a training session.
“He’s not near fit or anything and he’s not able to do everything, but it’s good.
“All of a sudden we are getting quite a big squad to choose from.”
Wingers Alfie Potter and Ryan Williams both made their first starts in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Morecambe after recovering from knocks.
The only other long-term absentee in the squad is Jon Meades, who has been on the sidelines since July.
The midfielder is not far behind Whing and could make his competitive debut next month.