Oxford United manager Denis Smith is appealing for supporters to be the team's 12th man in tomorrow's crunch relegation battle with Scunthorpe United.

"Although it's ultimately down to the 11 players on the pitch, the crowd can be a great help to gain us the three points," Smith said.

"If we're kicking downhill, we want them to be sucking the ball into that goal.

"The crowd have got a big part to play. If we can get a bit of a carnival atmosphere going, it can hopefully work in our favour."

And with that in mind, the Supporters' Club Player of the Year award is to be presented before kick-off. Paul Powell, who has had an outstanding season, is the firm favourite to win it and was leading the voting this morning, but Mark Watson has also accumulated a significant number of votes. Powell, selected by the Sun's Chris Kamara and by Sky Sports for their Division 2 Select teams, will be a key player in tomorrow's game, and Smith intends keeping him on the left side of midfield rather than at full back.

"He's our main threat at the moment," stressed United's manager.

Oxford have injury worries over Watson (calf) and Paul Tait (foot), who picked up bruises in Monday's 2-2 draw at Bristol City, and both may need late fitness tests.

Smith is expected to revert to 4-4-2, with Derek Lilley supporting Steve Anthrobus in attack. If Tait drops out, Simon Weatherstone will come in.

Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws says it's "win or bust" for his team, who are three points and three places behind Oxford in the table. Fears that striker Guy Ipoua would be out for the rest of the season after injuring his ankle at Blackpool a fortnight ago proved unfounded and he made a miracle recovery to take part in the Easter games.

But Ipoua could still be on the bench if Brian Quailey, who struck five goals in his first nine games after being plucked out of West Brom Reserves, proves his fitness.

A number of Cardiff fans will be joining Scunthorpe supporters in the visitors' end, cheering the Irons on. Cardiff are at Stoke on Sunday and a Scunthorpe win will boost their survival chances.

Said Oxford skipper Les Robinson: "It's a massive game. We need a good start and to get the crowd behind us. We need them on our side they can make or break us." Smith concluded: "I've been there before. When we had to beat Peterborough in that final game of the season, I was one of the few who was still relaxed at half-time because I knew we would do the job.

"The key thing will be to take the pressure off us and put Scunthorpe under pressure and that's where our fans can help."

Scunthorpe are so intent on attacking that, for the second match running, they are set to have three strikers and no keeper on the bench, and Oxford might do likewise.