JON Meades is loving every second of pre-season as the midfielder looks to put his injury nightmare firmly in the past.
The 22-year-old came off the bench in the 1-0 defeat against Wolves on Tuesday night, almost a year to the day since his last appearance at the Kassam Stadium.
Back then, an innocuous-looking fall against Coventry City left the Welshman with ruptured ankle ligaments, which ruled him out of the entire season.
Now fully recovered, Meades is savouring being back in the squad as he attempts to win a place in the side for next weekend’s League Two opener against Burton Albion.
He said: “I’m taking each training session as it comes and just enjoying it.
“When you’re out for a year, it’s crazy how much you miss it. Before the injury I almost took it for granted, but I realise now how important it is to give your best.
“I felt really good against Wolves and playing at this pace hopefully shows I’m ready.”
The lengthy spell on the sidelines meant he did not play a competitive game for either the manager who brought him to the U’s, Chris Wilder, or his successor, Gary Waddock.
But Meades believes the expansive style new head coach Michael Appleton is looking to implement suits his game.
He said: “It’s the type of football I like to play and I’m really happy with him.
“I think all the lads are delighted with the way he’s approached pre-season.”
United’s final pre-season game sees Meades’s former club Bournemouth visit the Kassam on Saturday.
He said: “They’re a very good side who will pass it even more than Wolves did, so it will be a different test.”
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Latest United news:
9:00am Tuesday 30th September 2014
Oxford United’s position in the table is now a concern for head coach Michael Appleton, who has acknow-ledged it is taking longer than expected to improve results.
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10:24am Monday 29th September 2014
OXFORD United slipped back into the bottom two in Sky Bet League Two as they lost 2-0 at Luton Town.
8:10am Monday 29th September 2014
A RUEFUL Tyrone Barnett held his hands up for a missed header which turned out to be the key moment in Oxford United’s defeat.