MICHAEL Appleton says fresh starts are needed for out-of-favour players at Oxford United – and admits it could mean they end up leaving permanently.

In the short-term it will mean loan moves and United’s head coach says the players he has spoken to so far have been open to the idea.

Changes were made to the squad in the wake of the 5-1 humiliation at Cambridge United earlier this month.

Tom Newey, Brian Howard and Junior Brown – all regulars in the side during the previous few weeks – started the game, but have not been named in the 18-man squad for the last three matches.

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David Hunt has not featured for more than a month, while goalkeeper Max Crocombe may also benefit from a run of games elsewhere after slipping to third choice since Ryan Clarke returned from injury.

Appleton wants those not in his immediate plans to prove they deserve a recall, but acknowledged for some it may be the end of the road.

He said: “Obviously there are certain players who for the sake of themselves and the club need to get some football elsewhere and freshen things up.

“Because of the situation we are in with the recruitment side of things, we have to keep it as fresh as we can until we get to the point where we are happy with the squad.

“It’s the same at any club, no matter where you are there will be people going in and out and we are no different.

“There are certain players in the squad that need a fresh start – whether that’s for a month, two months or permanently we will see.”

He added: “There’s an opportunity for them to do it and the ones I have spoken to about possibly going out on loan are quite keen to do it.”

One of those willing to move appears to be Hunt, who has been unable to dislodge Bolton Wanderers loanee Joe Riley at right back.

The 32-year-old Hunt told Sky Sports: “If I have to move on to get games, then so be it.

“Football is a short career and you want to be playing as often as you can.”

The impact of dropping senior players has been felt by those still in the side.

Centre back Johnny Mullins admitted it has served to keep everyone on their toes.

He said: “No place is safe, you’ve got to perform or you’re going to be out.

“Everyone knows their place is up for grabs and when you go out on the pitch you’ve got to perform.

“So come Wycombe on Saturday, the people who are playing are going to have to make their mark.”

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