JOE Riley says Oxford United should embrace being dark horses in Sky Bet League Two after Michael Appleton’s side were not rated among the favourites for promotion.

Bury, Luton Town and Portsmouth lead the way in the betting markets on the eve of the new season.

United yesterday had a best price of 6-1 to claim promotion this season, ranking them around the middle of the pack.

But Riley, who joined on loan from Bolton Wanderers last month, is aiming to prove the pundits wrong.

He said: “We all hope so, don’t we?

“It’s not a bad thing to consider ourselves as dark horses and I think everyone in the camp is vying for the play-offs or better and I’m sure the fans are as well, so we all just want to pull in the same direction and do that.”

A long-term knee injury means if Riley plays tomorrow, it will be his first competitive action since January 2013.

The right back thinks he is still several weeks from reaching top gear, but is excited to get going.

He said: “Hopefully, I can reach good fitness levels in the next couple of months and you will see the best of me.”

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