ALEX Mowatt has been tipped to grow into an important player for Oxford United after becoming their matchwinner at Bristol Rovers.

The 22-year-old came off the bench to coolly slot in the only goal of the game with eight minutes left in a feisty clash at the Memorial Stadium.

Mowatt’s game time has been limited since joining on loan from Barnsley on deadline day in August, starting just once in Sky Bet League One.

While playing in the same position as the outstanding Jack Payne has not helped, it has also taken him time to shine.

But U’s boss Pep Clotet, who worked with Mowatt at Leeds United, believes the strike will do wonders for him.

Clotet said: “The fact that Mowatt, who came to Oxford with a lot of motivation to help the team, scored the goal that means three points away from home in a really tough game, I’m delighted. I think it will be a massive boost.

“There’s a huge player inside of him and it showed he can be calm in a difficult moment like that and was able to have a quality finish.

“Although he’s really young, the composure he shows when it comes to attacking the box is very good.

“The fact he scored will give him even more confidence and belief.”

Mowatt was understandably thrilled to be the hero.

It had the bonus of coming at the end where more than 1,200 noisy travelling fans exploded in delight.

He said: “When you come on, you just think about being positive and trying to get the winner.

“I was thinking ‘just get it on target and score’.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place really, right in front of the fans.”

“The ground’s tight and it’s a good atmosphere, so it’s a hard place to come.

“I’m glad we nicked it in the end.”

The Yorkshireman will hope the goal sees him involved this week, when United host high-fliers Charlton Athletic and Rotherham United.

After winning three on the bounce, Clotet’s side are in the top-six, which is exactly where Mowatt thinks they should be aiming.

He said: “We lost three on the bounce, but from there we’ve spun it round and done really well.“We want to be up there come the end of the season, so we should be challenging.”