LIAM Kelly is aiming to take his next step towards a first Oxford United start tomorrow after making a big impact off the bench.

The Feyenoord loanee has been playing catch-up since signing four weeks ago, having made just two appearances in the Netherlands.

He played 12 minutes on debut against Blackpool last weekend, before taking centre stage against Newcastle United on Tuesday.

The midfielder had caught the eye even before he scored a free-kick which triggered the U’s comeback.

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Extra time meant Kelly ended up on the pitch for an hour, which helped push his claims to play against Sky Bet League One promotion rivals Peterborough United tomorrow.

He said: “I’ve had a bit of a long year without playing as many games as I would have liked.

“So Saturday was another step and Tuesday night was even more minutes – more than was expected because coming on at 60 minutes you think you’re only going to play 30.

“But it was nice we got extra time, it was better for me and it’s a good feeling.

“I’ve just got to keep working hard in training and show the gaffer that I deserve to start. Hopefully I can keep going.

“I never expected to come here and just walk into side.

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“I’ve got to do more than the boys have done already to prove myself and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Head coach Karl Robinson was excited by the performance and believes the 24-year-old can only get better.

“I thought Kells showed the talent he’s got,” he said.

“He’s not fit yet, you can clearly see that, but he’s an exceptional footballer.”

One player unsurprised by the new signing’s impact was Rob Dickie.

The pair were in the same youth teams at Reading and the centre back cannot wait to see Kelly in full flow.

“I promise you, people don’t realise how good he is,” Dickie said.

“I’m so happy for my mate.

“His free-kick was brilliant. Having played with him since we were kids I sensed it was going to happen.”