AIDAN Hawtin has credited a loan spell in non-league for getting him in first-team contention at Oxford United.

The 19-year-old made his senior debut as a late substitute in last weekend’s 3-0 win at Tranmere Rovers.

It was a big moment for Bicester’s Hawtin, who recovered from two serious knee injuries while in the club’s youth team.

But head coach Michael Appleton has admitted the jury was out on the winger earlier this season, until he spent two months on loan at Banbury United.

And Hawtin agreed it played a significant role in his development.

“I had a slow start to the season,” he said.

“I got sent out on loan, I thought I did really well there.

“It was hard in that league getting to know the players and it’s a different style of football to what you were training every day.

“That made me stronger and I came back with a better knowledge of how to play.

“In training the (United) lads have helped me out, so it wasn’t like I was a stranger going out to play the game.”