AN OVERDUE victory has given Karl Robinson the breathing space to treat tomorrow’s trip to Sky Bet League One leaders Wigan Athletic as a “free-hit”.

The head coach celebrated a first win at Oxford United with a 2-0 success at home to Southend United.

With four games remaining they still need one more positive result to be sure of staying up.

But with five games in 15 days, the win over the Shrimpers has left Robinson planning to shuffle his pack so he can concentrate on Saturday’s visit to mid-table Doncaster Rovers.

He said: “I will make a lot of changes for Tuesday and I will focus a lot on the following Saturday.

“It’s a free-hit, it certainly is.

“We’ve gone Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday.

“You tend to find it’s in the last section of the games you start to pick up mental and physical fatigue.

“There are too many of these players putting their bodies on the line week-in, week-out and it’s a bit of a worry for me.

“So we’ll make one or two changes, we’ll play some quick, young players.

“We won’t throw the towel in. Don’t think we’ll go there and roll over.”

Robinson cancelled training on Thursday in favour of a head tennis competition to lighten the mood after the midweek defeat to Fleetwood Town.

It clearly helped, but the U’s boss insisted the joy he took in the victory was about the collective, rather than his own satisfaction.

“Hand on heart, it doesn’t bother me,” he said.

“The staff who have worked behind me have been impeccable, the players have listened to everything I’ve said and it’s a pleasure to work with them every day, but it’s never about me.”

He added: “You see what it means to so many people and you don’t want to let them down – that’s important to me.

“I just hope they can go home, or to a restaurant or have a beer after the game and enjoy it for once. They deserve that.”