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Leven: Oxford United comes first
PETER Leven has no problem making himself available for Oxford United , even if he is a long way off being fully fit.
The midfielder made a surprise return to the team in midweek, scoing a penalty in the 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham.
Leven came off the bench to play the final 25 minutes, a remarkable effort considering the Scot had completed just two full training sessions since undergoing knee and shoulder surgery in May.
He said: “The gaffer asked me at half-time ‘how long can you play?’ “I said if he needed me, I’d play as long as I could, but obviously the legs would go.
“(Yesterday) was my third training session with the boys, so I’ve shot forward a little bit.
“There are a lot of injuries and I’ve put myself forward.
“It was supposed to be another two or three weeks to come back, but I’m happy to get some game time.”
It was a familiar story for the Scot, who played during the run-in to last season despite struggling with injuries.
Leven admitted it was not ideal, but for him the team’s needs come first.
He said: “That’s just me, sometimes it’s silly and I kill myself in a way by putting my hand up when I’m not fully fit, (like) last season, but if the team needs me I’m there for them.
“I’ve got to be careful because it’s a long season and we’re not going to win anything in the first eight games.
“It’s just managing it so I can play the full season.”
The 28-year-old would have happily sacrificed his goal at Cheltenham if the U’s had claimed a share of the points.
His experience could be important coming off the bench again tomorrow as the team attempt to avoid a fifth successive league defeat.
Leven said: “It’s early on in the season. You look at last year, I think Swindon lost games early on and ended up cruising the league.
“We won the first three games to go top of the league and it’s looking rosy, then we lose the next four and we’re down at 16th.
“Football’s like a rollercoaster, one minute you’re up the next you’re down – hopefully we’re on that climb again.
“In football you’re going to have off days and hopefully we’ve got most of them out the way.
“There’s nothing you can do to change it once you’ve got that defeat, so you’ve just got to draw a line under it and move to the next game.”
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