MICHAEL Appleton has raised doubts over whether Liam Sercombe plays for Oxford United again after revealing he plans to leave the midfielder out of the club’s Easter fixtures.
The 26-year-old was omitted from the squad which drew 1-1 at Walsall on Saturday for ‘discipline reasons’.
Appleton, United’s head coach, has declined to give any details at the reason behind the decision, although there is speculation it centres around comments made after the Checkatrade Trophy final defeat at Wembley, where he came off the bench to score.
But with only four games of the season remaining and Sercombe’s contract expiring this summer, it raises the question of whether he will feature for the U’s again.
“Who knows,” Appleton said.
“Everything is undoable and there’s never a full stop with anything.
“But there would have to be a hell of a lot of work behind the scenes to put things right.
“He won’t be in the squad this weekend. Whether he is (involved) beyond the weekend I will decide at the time, but he won’t be in the squad for the Bradford or Port Vale games.”
If it did happen, it would be a sad end to Sercombe’s time at United.
The midfielder enjoyed the best season of his career after joining from Exeter City two years ago, scoring 17 goals as the U’s claimed automatic promotion from Sky Bet League Two, alongside runs in the FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Despite showing his knack for grabbing important goals again, this campaign has been far tougher, not helped by him missing two months with a knee injury sustained in November.
During his absence Ryan Ledson established himself in central midfield with skipper John Lundstram, meaning Sercombe has mainly been used in his less favoured wide role since returning to fitness.
And although the former Grecian has been an important figure, there is no room for sentiment with Appleton.
He said: “We’ve had players who have done ever so well for us in the past who have gone on to do well for themselves at other clubs and I’ve got no gripes with that.
“We do things a certain way and we have a certain type of culture.
“There are certain things we can accept and certain things we don’t.
“I’m speaking on behalf of the whole group, not just myself, and I would be absolutely amazed if anybody thinks differently.”