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Craddock expected to return for Oxford United
TOP scorer Tom Craddock is set to hand Oxford United a big boost at home to Aldershot today.
The striker, who has eight goals in his last seven appearances, is expected to return to the squad for the npower League Two clash after a month out with a rib injury.
Peter Leven and Tony Capaldi are also back in the reckoning after being rested for the midweek trip to Plymouth Argyle in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
But Deane Smalley, Michael Duberry, Jon-Paul Pittman and Andy Whing are all missing.
U’s boss Chris Wilder made five changes for the 1-1 draw, which the U’s won on a penalty shoot-out.
Now he has to make several tricky selection decisions – a rare luxury in a season dogged by injuries.
“That’s how it should be,” he said. “I’d like a few more problems if I’m honest, but it’s good that the players who had an opportunity went out and produced a performance.
“That is really important, whether they’re starting or coming off the bench – I thought Hessy (Simon Heslop) and Beano (James Constable) did great (as second half substitutes) at Plymouth.”
With a visit to Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup last Saturday, the squad have racked up almost 800 miles in a week.
But Wilder is not too concerned about fatigue after freshening up the side on Tuesday.
He said: “I thought our energy levels in the second half on Saturday were great and it didn’t really take a toll on Tuesday, late on in the game we looked OK. “There are players who are raring to go and want to go out and keep it going.”
United, who are four games unbeaten, will be looking to replicate their last home performance – a 2-1 league victory over Northampton Town a fortnight ago.
Aldershot arrive second bottom in the table, but they have not lost in their last five away games.
With the exception of long-term injuries to Ross Worner and Craig Stanley, Shots manager Dean Holdsworth has no other fitness concerns.
Anthony Tonkin, Josh Payne and Danny Rose, all former U’s, should feature.
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Davis, Potter, Cox, Leven, Rigg, Constable, Craddock, Marsh, Heslop, Chapman, Forster-Caskey, Capaldi, Worley, O’Brien, Brown.
Aldershot: from Young, Herd, Brown, Bradley, Tonkin, Hector, Rose, Hylton, Reid, Vincenti, Lopez, Morris, Bergqvist, Payne, Mekki, Roberts, Sinclair, Cadogan, Cooksley
- OXFORD United will find out their opponents in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Section semi-finals this morning.
Victories against Swindon Town, Cheltenham Town and Plymouth Argyle have brought the U’s to within two rounds of the Wembley final.
They will be in the draw with Southend United, Leyton Orient and Yeovil Town.
Log on to oxfordmail.co.uk/sport for the details after 10.30am.