RYAN Clarke has confidence in Oxford United’s young players if they are called upon at Wrexham tonight following a baptism of fire last week.

An injury crisis affected the defence in front of the goalkeeper, where a completely new back four was fielded in the FA Cup first round replay at Gateshead.

Full backs David Lynn and Matt Bevans had not played a minute of senior football, but came through a full two hours with a clean sheet.

Clarke, who has conceded just once in the last four games, was impressed with their display and said he tried to do what he could to put the rookies at ease.

He said: “More than anything you just give them encouragement really.

“I remember my debut and I was a bit of a nervous wreck 12 or 13 years ago.

“For those boys to make their debuts on the TV and put in such a steady performance is a credit to them.

“They have had a taste of it now and I’m sure they will be hungry to stay in and around it.”

He added: “There was obviously a big turnaround at the back, but you’d have thought they had all played 300 or 400 league games.

“It was great for the young lads to come in and do so well.”