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:
9:45pm Tuesday 9th February 2016
SAM Slocombe made two costly errors as Oxford United were denied victory by a last-minute Mansfield Town goal at the Kassam Stadium tonight.
9:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A recharged Danny Hylton turned down a bid to move away from Oxford United so he could enjoy success with the club.
8:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
Michael Appleton sees the visit of Mansfield Town tonight as an opportunity for Oxford United to further cement a place in the top three.
5:43pm Monday 8th February 2016
OXFORD United expect to sell more than 5,000 Wembley tickets on the first day of going on sale.
4:00pm Monday 8th February 2016
OXFORD United have announced the rearranged dates for their away trip to Exeter City and home game against Dagenham & Redbridge in Sky Bet League Two.