JAMIE Mackie believes Oxford United’s performance against Premier League opposition will stand them in good stead for their promotion push.

Not for the first time this season, Karl Robinson’s side rose to the occasion when facing a top-flight side.

But unlike their Carabao Cup displays against West Ham United and Manchester City, Saturday’s goalless draw with Newcastle United was not at the Kassam Stadium.

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Instead, the U’s earned a result in front of more than 52,000 people at St James’ Park to set up an Emirates FA Cup fourth round replay next Tuesday.

“It’s a massive credit to the lads in a really important league season where all our focus is on that, we’ve managed to have some really good results in the cups,” Mackie said,

“We have 18 games now and this was a nice distraction.

“Through the game you could see players getting more confident.

“That was the message – don’t get back on the coach and have regrets that you could have done more because you were a bit nervous or didn’t know how.

“They’ve got to try to take confidence from all the games they play in.

“I think that’s the key, to try to play at places like this and use it as motivation to kick on up the league and try to play here on a more regular basis.

“It would have been good to win, because we’ve got a lot of games, but it’s a replay we can’t wait to play in at home in front of our fans.”

Mackie led the side out at Newcastle with regular captain John Mousinho named on the bench.

And when it comes to specific elements of Saturday’s game which set the standard for when United return to league action this weekend, the experienced forward was clear.

He said: “You have to concentrate so hard because they are such good players.

“If we went chasing and coming out of our shape then the back four get exposed.

“I think it was a very disciplined performance and the back four reaped the rewards on the back of everyone working hard.

“But individually the back four were brilliant – to come to a Premier League team and keep a clean sheet is a big confidence boost.

“We need to get back to keeping clean sheets in the league, that’s how we were getting up the table in the first place.”