Patrick Hoban is due to be named in Oxford United’s squad for the first time today.

The striker signed from Irish champions Dundalk in November, but a combination of work permit problems and an ankle injury have held him back.

Despite a development game on Tuesday, where he was due to gain some much-needed match fitness, being washed out, Hoban is likely to be on the bench at home to Southend United.

Oxford’s head coach Michael Appleton said: “Pat’s very different to a lot of players, you have to put the reins on him. If you don’t, he will overdo it.

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“If we find ourselves behind in the game it might be the introduction of Pat Hoban that gives everyonea lift.”

James Roberts (hamstring) is ruled out, which could open the door for Will Hoskins, although Callum O’Dowda is pushing for a start after impressing as a substitute in the goalless draw at Dagenham & Redbridge a week ago.

Southend are expected to include new signings Jake Cassidy and Adam Barrett.

Wolves striker Cassidy is the more likely to come straight into a side which has scored fewer goals than their hosts this season.

Defender Luke Prosser is available after suspension, while there are fitness doubts over midfielder Kevan Hurst and striker Barry Corr.

Oxford Utd: Clarke, Mullins, Dunkley, Wright, Meades, Whing, Ruffels, Holmes-Dennis, Burns, Hylton, Hoskins, O’Dowda, Hoban, Campbell, Collins, Rose, Ashby, Long, Crocombe.

Southend Utd: Bentley, White, Coker, Thompson, Binnom-Williams, Worrall, Leonard, Payne, Deegan, Coulthirst, Pigott, Cassidy, Williams, Clifford, Atkinson, Barrett, Weston, Timlin, Matsuzaka, Smith.

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