ROB Hall and Jon Obika could make a surprise return for Oxford United before the end of the season.

The pair, both out of contract in the summer, have been sidelined since August and October respectively with serious knee injuries.

While it was thought they would not feature for the U’s in this campaign, progress has been steady.

Having started running outside last month, they joined in the start of the first team’s warm-up in training on Friday and are due to step up their workload this week.

A cameo off the bench would be a reward for their months of hard work recovering from surgery.

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And United’s safety from relegation in Sky Bet League One means boss Karl Robinson has a the freedom to give them opportunities.

“It would be nice, just for their confidence,” he said.

“They’re still in the gym at 5pm.

“People might say that’s a normal working day, but they’re pushing their bodies to the limit every day.

“They’ve been impeccable in their training regime and they should be commended.

“Hally and Jon joined in at the beginning of the warm-up, so hopefully they’ll be training with us as well (soon).

“It’s a bit late, but hopefully we can finish the season quite positively.”

With the duo returning to light training, it leaves Shandon Baptiste as the only senior player in the treatment room.

Malachi Napa was another who has been on the sidelines, but the winger returned to the bench on Saturday.

United were planning to tread carefully with the 19-year-old, who had been wiped out by an illness.

But Napa has reacted well to training and is now in the frame during the run-in, which continues at home to Charlton Athletic on Good Friday.

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While his loan spell at Macclesfield Town in the first half of the season was mixed, Robinson believes it was a useful experience.

He said: “Malachi’s matured, maybe he’s tamed the youthful exuberance he had a little bit.

“He’s got more of an awareness of his responsibilities within a football team.

“He’s been brilliant since he’s been back.

“He’s still a long way off, he needs a good pre-season in him and we’ll see where he’s at next year.”

Robinson is looking to tinker with his matchday squad in the final four games of the season.

But he stressed that chances will only go to players who are performing in training.

He said: “You don’t just get a seat on the bench.

“You can’t not train well and then click your fingers and all of a sudden games become easy.

“You have to train like you play.”