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.
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Latest United news:
9:30am Wednesday 26th November 2014
MICKEY Lewis backed James Roberts to come back stronger than ever after Oxford United were boosted by the news the striker’s hamstring injury was not serious.
1:00pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
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12:34pm Tuesday 25th November 2014
JAMES Roberts could return to Oxford United action in three or four weeks after his hamstring injury was found to be less serious than initially feared.
8:00am Tuesday 25th November 2014
Michael Appleton is keen to loan out a couple of senior Oxford United players before the window closes on Thursday.
11:00am Monday 24th November 2014
OXFORD United were unable to break down a well-organised AFC Wimbledon side during their goalless draw at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.