MARK Sykes' surprise call-up to Northern Ireland means they are missing two senior players for Saturday's visit to Fleetwood Town,

They are already without Ben Woodburn, who is away with Wales, which leaves them one call-up away from being able to postpone the fixture until a midweek date later in the campaign.

There are three games in the division already off this weekend for the same reason.

But U’s head coach Karl Robinson would not have followed suit if a third player had been called away.

He said: “You’d only then put it into a period of the season where you’ve already got games anyway.

“And let’s be brutally honest, Fleetwood’s only just shorter than Sunderland in relation to travel time.

“If you’re getting on the coach at 11pm you’re not getting back until 4am or 5am.

“It’s a difficult trip.

“We feel we’re in a good place and have players in the right areas who have been rested.”

Nico Jones is away with the Republic of Ireland Under 18s, but that does not count in relation to calling a game off as it is below under 21 level.

The other potential candidate is Shandon Baptiste, who made his senior debut for Grenada two years ago.

But having only just returned from a long-term knee injury, United would not have been keen for the midfielder to undertake the journey to the Caribbean if a call had come.