PEP Clotet believes Alex Mowatt will benefit hugely from the confidence boost generated by his last-minute winner for Oxford United.

The 22-year-old struck from outside the box to secure a 2-1 victory at Gillingham in the Checkatrade Trophy second round.

Mowatt has struggled to make a consistent impact since joining on loan in August – and Tuesday’s game was the first time the U’s had won with him in the starting line-up.

Clotet, who worked with the talented midfielder at Leeds United, rates him highly and believes a second winner, after Bristol Rovers in October, will do him the world of good.

He said: “I think it will be very positive for him and his confidence.

“He’s a confident player, but these little things help massively.

“He’s a player who will always score goals, he got a lot for Leeds from outside the box.”

While Mowatt has not yet lived up to the expectations since signing on deadline day, Clotet felt the time for judging any player was at the end of the campaign.

He said: “The players are working very hard – sometimes they have better runs and sometimes they have worse runs.

“It’s about sticking with them and getting your thoughts right at the end of the season.”

He added: “Mowatt is a very strong character. Obviously everyone will benefit from that environment but I don’t think he feels the pressure.

“Football is always about that, you want to match the expectation of the fans because they are your expectations as well.

“With Mowie every time he’s on the pitch he works very hard.

“Even though it’s not his best position he always does it and when he has the quality to do something he helped us at Gillingham and Bristol Rovers. We should remember that.”

Mowatt is hoping his midweek display has done enough to stay in the side to face his hometown club, Doncaster Rovers, on Saturday.

While he has featured in 16 of 19 games since making his U’s debut, only seven have been as a starter.

He said: “I want to be playing more, that’s why I came here.

“We produce good football, so hopefully if I get playing more confidently and regularly I’ll start performing better.

“I started four games on the bounce (after Bristol Rovers) and felt good.

“Then I wasn’t in the team for three or four and it was back to square one.

“It’s just about getting games, but that comes down to my performances as well.”