HAVING worked for more than a decade to reach the promised land of the Championship, John Mousinho is hungry for a return during his time at Oxford United.

The Londoner took the scenic route to the second tier in a career which has included spells at Brentford, Wycombe Wanderers, Stevenage and Preston North End.

And he finally broke through the hard way, winning back-to-back promotions with Burton Albion.

But having been a regular as the Brewers upset the odds to stay up, it became clear Mousinho’s playing time would be restricted this season.

After grafting for so long to reach Championship, the 31-year-old does not want to be a one-season wonder – and believes United match his ambition.

“From what I gather, without having a specific conversation with anyone at the club, Oxford want to get out of the league,” he said.

“That’s brilliant, one of the major things for me in leaving the Championship was going to a club that wanted to get there.

“For me to get back there is the ultimate goal.

“I’d like to think I’ll always be hungry until the day I retire, but especially now it’s a magnificent challenge.”

Having arrived late on deadline day, last Saturday’s trip to Milton Keynes Dons came too soon for Mousinho, who watched the 1-1 draw from the stands.

But after a full week in training, the centre back is in contention to make his debut at home to Gillingham tomorrow.

His only experience of the Kassam Stadium is positive – having won there during visits with Stevenage in 2011 and Burton three years later.

He said: “It’s a big club with great history.

“It’s always good to play here and it can be quite intimidating.

“That’s hopefully something the lads will look to push on this season.

“I’ve not played against Oxford for a few years, but everything I’ve learned about the club has been positive.”

His debut for the U’s will be a landmark – the 400th appearance of his career.

Adding experience to the squad has been a priority this summer and the big message Mousinho will bring to his new teammates is clear.

He said: “As long as you’re willing to work hard and be honest there’s nothing to fear.

“I’ve got experience from the Championship to League Two, so that’s something hopefully I will bring to the dressing room.

“I’ve got the experience of getting out of League One as well, which is something I hope will help.

“I think for a lot of players that have played the majority of their career in League One and League Two, the Championship can be this mythical beast you’re not quite sure about.

“But when you get there it really is a great place to be.

“Going into the Championship there were a lot of unknowns.

“I’d never played there before and it could have been a case of me getting there and thinking I was miles off it.

“I really didn’t find that, I embraced it.”