Jon-Paul Pittman is set to make a return to Oxford United’s squad on Friday night, with the striker aiming to put a frustrating campaign at the club behind him with a strong finish to the season.
The 25-year-old is likely to be among the substitutes for the trip to Northampton Town (7.45pm) after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Pittman has played just five minutes of first-team football in the last two months, further halting progress in a disappointing season which has seen him start just five games for the U’s since signing last summer.
But the striker, who has twice won promotion from npower League Two with Wycombe Wanderers, knows there is still time to add to his three goals and make a valuable contribution to United’s promotion push.
He said: “There’s always the potential for a happy ending in football. You might have missed quite a bit of the season or not featured as much, but those last few games at the real business end seem to be what people remember.
“It’s an important part of the season and it’s what people concentrate on.
“It has been stop-start for me with lots of twists and turns this season, maybe more than ever, but I think it makes you stronger and makes you appreciate when you are in the team and things are going well.
“I think I’ve still got more to give – if I can get another run in the team, I can show everybody what else I can do.”
Pittman comes back into the squad at a key moment, with the U’s looking to put Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Morecambe behind them.
The forward watched the game from the stands and believes it can be used as a source of motivation.
He said: “I think Saturday was a blip. We have to hit the reset button, take what we can out of the game and remember how we felt after More-cambe.
“You have to draw something positive out of it – that’s what the strongest players and teams do.”
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Batt, Duberry, Wright, Davis, Whing, Chapman, Leven, Hall, Rendell, Constable, Morgan, Montano, Johnson, Pittman, Brown, McLaren.
Northampton Tn: from Kitson, Johnson, Carlisle, Langmead, Charles, Silva, Tozer, Harding, Jacobs, Guttridge, Akinfenwa, Hall, Charles, Young, Robinson, Williams, Adams.