MISSING out on the play-offs would be disappointing, but not damaging to the stability of Oxford United, according to chairman Kelvin Thomas.

The U’s looked certainties to claim at least a top seven place at one stage, but an ill-timed blip in form has set up a tense end to the campaign.

Last month United owner Ian Lenagan revealed the club’s projected loss of £210,000 for the year 2011/12 could be wiped out by a successful run in the play-offs.

Thomas remains optimistic about the team’s chances in the final two games, but made it clear if they were to fall short it would not have serious ramifications financially.

He said: “If we miss out on the play-offs it would be disappointing, there’s not a person in the football club who would say anything different, but it certainly would not the end of the world.

“We’re not a boom and bust club anymore, we’re not a club that has to have success on the pitch to be stable.”

Away from the pitch Thomas has been encouraged by the reaction from supporters this season.

Average gates have increased despite the bleak economic conditions.

Only Bradford City and Swindon Town attract larger attendances in npower League Two this season, while their 7,365 figure would make them the seventh best supported club in League One.

Early bird season ticket sales for the next campaign were strong, with almost 3,100 supporters booking their places this month.

Thomas said: “Fans will always vote with their feet and looking at the recent season ticket sales and the gates this year they’ve done that.

“The vote is not of despair, what’s shown with our sales is people have enjoyed and got some entertainment from what’s been on offer this season.

“We all know what we want to achieve and we want to do it together, it’s about making sure the results match the performances.

“That’s a lesson we’ll learn and is part of our progression as a club.”

He added: “With this football club there always comes an expectation, we’ve learned that and dealt with it as we’ve gone along.

“Sometimes it’s realistic and other times it’s unrealistic.

“We make sure we deal with it and try to use it to drive us forward.”