NICKY Wroe says Oxford United cannot afford to dwell on their defeat at Newport County as the promotion race heats up.

The U’s suffered a first Sky Bet League Two defeat of 2014 as they went down 3-2 at Rodney Parade on Tuesday night.

It also signalled the end of an unbeaten away run, which stretched back for almost 11 months.

A victory in Wales would have taken the U’s up to second place, just a point behind leaders Chesterfield.

Midweek results elsewhere went their way, so Mickey Lewis’s side remain in the automatic promotion places, but there are three teams within two points below them, all with at least one game in hand.

Wroe was disappointed to lose, but urged the squad to re-focus and move on immediately.

The midfielder said: “We’ve got to put it behind us straight away, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“We know we weren’t at the races enough and we’re deeply disappointed, but we’ve got to put that to the back of our minds now and get some good recovery in before the weekend.

“(Newport) had a game plan, imposing themselves from the first minute and we struggled to cope with them.”

The winner from Chris Zebroski came via a breakdown in communication between goalkeeper Ryan Clarke and captain Johnny Mullins.

Wroe expects the pair, who have been among United’s best players this season, to bounce back strongly as the squad attempt to begin a new run of results at Morecambe this Saturday.

He said: “They are experienced campaigners and we’re not going to dig them out for that.

“It was a genuine mistake and they have been our most consistent performers. Sometimes these things happen.

“Hopefully, we can really learn from that.”

The 28-year-old, on loan from Preston, knows all about putting together a promotion campaign after going up from League Two with Shrewsbury Town two seasons ago.

For Wroe, the key to success is simple.

“I think it’s not panicking if things aren’t quite going as well as you’d like,” he said.