PHIL Parkinson came away impressed with Oxford United after a midweek scouting mission.

The Sunderland boss, who brings his team to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow, was in the stands for the Carabao Cup tie with Watford.

Parkinson said: “I went down to see the game on Tuesday. They should have won it in normal time.

"They will be frustrated with a (2-0) defeat to Lincoln (last week), they had a lot of the ball and dominated possession, but came away with nothing.

“They are a team who did well last year, ended up in the play-offs, (but) didn’t get over the finish line.

“We know they’ve got some decent players, but we went there last year and got a victory.

“If we can take a lot of the positive elements of our display from the weekend and add to that, then we’ve got a great chance.”

United’s main shortcoming so far has been in taking opportunities – and it was also an issue in Sunderland’s 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers last week.

Parkinson said: “We went through what we needed to do better, in terms of making more of our dominance in terms of possession.

“A higher percentage of our final ball has to have a return in chances created.”

He added: “The first five or six games are very important and we want to make sure we’re right at the top of the table.”