Michael Appleton is waiting on the fitness of two centre backs as he prepares to pick his first competitive line-up as Oxford United’s head coach.
Johnny Mullins (dead leg) and Jake Wright (ankle) have been nursing minor problems picked up in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves in pre-season.
Aside from long-term absentees goalkeeper Ryan Clarke and midfielder Andy Whing, the defenders are the only players struggling to make the opening game against Burton Albion.
He said: “If they’re both back then happy days, we’ll go into the campaign with a clean bill of health, with the exception of Whingy and Clarkey.
“I’m certainly not expecting both of them to be fit, if they are it would be a big bonus, but if we can get one of them fit I’d be delighted.”
Even if the pair are fit, Michael Raynes is pushing for a start in the heart of defence after a strong pre-season.
In addition to a host of signings in line to make their competitive bows today, another debutant looks set to be Jon Meades.
The midfielder signed more than a year ago, but was unavailable for the whole of last season after sustaining a serious ankle injury.
Burton, who have reached the play-offs for the past two seasons, will be without Damien McCrory, Jimmy Phillips and Lee Bell, who all have knee injuries.
Oxford Utd: from G Long, Riley, Raynes, Wright, Newey, Collins, Meades, Potter, Brown, Hylton, Morris, Roberts, O’Dowda, Rose, Shama, Ruffels, Ashby, Hunt, S Long, Mullins, Crocombe.
Burton: from McLaughlin, Edwards, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, Taft, Akins, Weir, Mousinho, MacDonald, McGurk, Beavon, Kee, Harness, Palmer, Lyness, Knowles, McFadzean, Slade, Doyle.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Latest United news:
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.
12:10pm Monday 8th February 2016
More than 2,000 tickets were bought for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley in the first hour of going on sale this morning.