MICHAEL Appleton says Danny Hylton will benefit from a spell out of the Oxford United side as he rubbished suggestions the forward could be on the way out in January.
The 26-year-old has been a first-team regular since joining in June 2014, but has been an unused substitute for three games in a row.
In the past two fixtures, at Yeovil Town and Notts County, the U’s went into the closing stages searching for a winning goal, but other attacking players were preferred to last season’s top scorer.
With the transfer window now open it has prompted rumours the forward, who has six goals from 23 starts this season, might be available for a move.
- Chris Maguire loving life at Oxford United – but it's 'too early' for contract talks
- Rob Hall eyes final fitness milestone in Oxford United's clash with Oldham Athletic
- Young Oxford United squad need me to be an assertive leader – Michael Appleton
- Oldham Athletic skipper calls for FA Cup response at Oxford United
- Oxford United boss Michael Appleton wishes departing loanee Dan Crowley well ahead of Dutch move from Arsenal
But Appleton stressed the aim this month was to add to the talent pool at United and the head coach believes when Hylton does return he will be refreshed.
“You’re going to get (rumours) but we want to strengthen the squad if we can in January, not make it any weaker,” he said.
“I think the players in the side are doing well, getting opportunities and some of them are scoring.
“We are missing opportunities but that’s not the biggest part of Danny’s game, scoring goals – it’s more what he does in and around the box.
“You need to have lots of options in your squad and at the minute he’s having a few games out of the team.
“It will do him the world of good – when he comes back in, he will be fresh and ready.”
While the window is open Appleton, speaking on Saturday, felt there were no imminent deals to bring players to the club.
They have been linked with Charlton Athletic striker Joe Pigott, whose temporary spell at Southend United ended on Saturday, and Hull City left back Conor Townsend, on loan at Grimsby Town until this weekend.
The U’s boss declined to comment on the speculation, but made it clear they would wait for the right players.
He said: “We’re not going to rush into doing something which isn’t going to be right in the long term.
“It doesn’t matter whether he’s 35, 25 or 18. If I think he’s the right fit and the right personality and character we will look to bring him into the club.
“The players we do bring in have to be right – and we have to make sure we do our due diligence on them.”