Oxford RL will be without JJ Baird for the rest of the season after the second row forward suffered a knee injury in their 58-16 defeat by York a fortnight ago.
This is a big blow for Oxford, who have a mounting injury crisis as they bid to climb away from the lower reaches of the table.
For Sunday’s trip to north east to take on Gateshead Thunder, Glenn Osborn is ruled out after damaging his elbow in training, while Karl Temata continues to be out with a back injury.
Late fitness tests will be given to Sean Morris (hamstring), Value Bentley (knee) and Jimmy Rowland (knee).
Coach Tony Benson welcomes back Michael Crabtree and Dave Ellison after they missed the heavy York defeat for personal reasons.
Oxford, who did not have a game last week, will be looking for revenge against the Thunder after losing the last two encounters between the sides.
Gateshead ran out 47-28 victors at the International Stadium at the start of the campaign and then won 36-22 at Iffley Road last month.
Gateshead know they need to pick up the victory on Sunday as they sit just outside the playoffs Oxford will be trying to put pressure on the home side as they try and make one last push towards the play-offs.
Benson said said: “It’s going to be a difficult challenge, on and off the field, as it’s a long old drive up there.
“So we need to ensure our preparations are spot on.
“It is hard to predict what sort of side we will be facing.
“But they have brought in some experienced players over the past few months in the shape of Jamie Rooney, Lee Mapals and more recently Ben Hardcastle.
“So they are a side packed full of experience as well as youth.
“I am expecting a tough match this weekend.”
Oxford squad: Benson, Blaney, Blewitt, Briggs, Brooker, Crabtree, Connick, Davies, Egerton, Ellison, Evans, Hoggins, Hayles, Lynch, J Morris, S Morris, Mulkeen, Newton, O’Keeffe, Parker, Rice, Roden, Rowland, Sharratt, Slade-Jones, Thompson, Vickers, Winfield, Wright.
Latest Sport news
7:40pm Friday 30th January 2015
OXFORD University’s highly-rated welterweight Harley Mace tops the bill for this year’s Town v Gown show at the Oxford Union on Wednesday.
6:59pm Friday 30th January 2015
FIONA Bunn recorded a fourth successive win at the Vale of White Horse Schools’ Cross Country Championships by retaining her under 17 girls’ title at Radley College.
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.
9:10am Friday 30th January 2015
AS hard as Oxford United have worked to avoid doing business on transfer deadline day, head coach Michael Appleton is preparing to be involved in Monday night’s rush.
9:00am Friday 30th January 2015
JAMES Roberts is aiming to reach double figures for goals before the end of his first season as a professional.
8:40am Friday 30th January 2015
JOHN Campbell’s career at Oxford United rests on whether Jarrow Roofing are willing to agree a delay over receiving a fee for the striker.
8:20am Friday 30th January 2015
STEVENAGE boss Graham Westley says Oxford United’s movements in the January transfer window show they “mean business”.