He suffered a career-ending injury at 27, but head coach Michael Appleton says United’s loss at Wembley was his lowest moment in football.

MICHAEL Appleton is hoping to bring the feel-good factor back to Oxford United tonight after describing the club’s Wembley defeat as his ‘worst moment in football’.

The U’s face play-off hopefuls Fleetwood Town at the Kassam Stadium, bidding to keep alive their own top-six hopes.

It is a quick turn-around from the defeat to Coventry in the Checkatrade Trophy on Sunday – the second year in a row Appleton’s side have been runners-up at Wembley.

United’s head coach admits being beaten at the national stadium was tough to take.

He said: “The feeling of losing at Wembley is probably as hard as anything you will ever come across in football.

“I said to people after the game, and bear in mind being injured and having to retire cost me ten years of my career, Sunday was my worst moment in football.

“But being involved in football, you get used to getting knocked and there are more bad than good days and that’s where you’ve got to really treasure the good days.”

Appleton has also chosen not to watch the game back with his players, instead making sure the focus is purely on Fleetwood.

He added: “I don’t intend to ever look back at the game.

“It’s gone now, it was a disappointment, but it’s in the history books and we move forward.”

United have six games to chase down a play-off place in Sky Bet League One and are under no illusions about the task ahead.

Appleton said: “It’s about 18 points and nothing else.

“The next two games (Fleetwood and Walsall) are huge, because if you are within four or five points going into the last three or four games, there’s more pressure on the teams above than us.

“It was a big day for everyone on Sunday, but the reality is the quicker we move on and try to get that feel-good factor back, the better.”