The likelihood of the dream team of Tommy Mooney and Lee Bradbury leading a new-look Oxford United attack on their own at Boston tomorrow increased greatly yesterday.

Julian Alsop fell awkwardly in training while Steve Basham was sent home with a virus.

Both may be fit to take part in the season opener at York Street, but the chances are they will be on the bench.

U's manager Graham Rix has a number of other doubts for what he regards as a very tough game.

"We need to have a look at Robert Quinn's hamstring, Tom Winters has a groin strain and Mark E'Beyer has a slight knee problem.

"But, apart from Dave Woozley with his knee, and Mark Rawle who has missed all of pre-season, we're pretty close to full strength."

Two big plusses for United are Jon Ashton's fitness and Rob Wolleaston's recovery after he had to come off during the 2-2 draw against Bournemouth feeling unwell in the heat.

"It was just a tummy bug that Rob had, but he'll be OK," Rix said. "Jon is not 100 per cent fit and I think that showed last week, but he'll be fine. He has worked hard individually to get himself fit."

Danny Brown has returned to training but needs games, so one poser for the fans is who will play on the left side of midfield. With Winters doubtful, it could be Terry Parker.

Rix said the mood in the camp is buoyant.

"The lads are buzzing and are really looking forward to the new season," he said. "We've worked quite a bit this week on shape and much more on when we don't have the ball, rather than when we do have it.

"Boston are a real threat at dead-ball situations and we've worked on that."

Rix added: "It's a really tough first game for us. I'm not sure whether Gazza will play, and I don't think it matters whether he does or doesn't. They'll be combative, and we've got to at least match that."

Boston manager Steve Evans hopes to make further additions to his squad before tomorrow's clash.

With Northern Ireland international striker Andy Kirk ruled out with a knee injury, and winger Danny Thomas facing a race against the clock to be fit after hamstring trouble, Evans is trying to recruit new blood.

Paul Gascoigne, who has been suffering from food poisoning, is rated as 50-50 to make the line-up.