JACK Stevens is aiming to take another chance to impress with both hands as Oxford United head to Walsall tonight.

The goalkeeper is starting back-to-back U’s games for the first time, having played in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Peterborough United in the Emirates FA Cup.

Now the attention turns to the Papa John’s Trophy, where Karl Robinson’s side will reach the knockout stages if they avoid defeat.

For Stevens, it is another step towards proving himself, after making big strides to push U’s No 1 Simon Eastwood.

He said: “I feel like I’ve matured a lot in the last 12 to 18 months.

“When we came back from lockdown before the play-offs I hit the ground running.

“It’s probably just a maturity one, it’s now or never for me.

Also read: Jordan Obita joy at Oxford United homecoming, 20 years on

“I’ve improved a lot, I’ve got stronger and more powerful. I just feel good in myself and confident.

“I spoke to the gaffer in

pre-season and he gave me a lot of confidence by saying he has trust in me and I’ll play the cup games.

“I’m just trying to repay that and show what I can do.”

U’s boss Karl Robinson had planned his starting XI for tonight last week.

But the news Saturday’s Sky Bet League One game with Doncaster Rovers had been called off due to the opposition’s international call-ups has forced a re-think.

He said: “There will be some surprises in there as well, more of our senior players than you’d expect.

“But with the game being called off on Saturday, we were meant to rest some of them for two games to make sure they were ready for that game.

“Now there’s no fixture on Saturday we feel one or two of them want to play, because it gives them that game seven days before we play against Crewe.

“We feel we’ve come up with the perfect mix of young players and some experienced ones.”

He added: “The objective will be to top the group and that’s the message.”

John Mousinho is due to captain the side, after having to pull out of Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie when his wife went into labour on Friday.

It is also another useful test for Sam Winnall, with the striker expected to play the opening 65 minutes at the Bescot Stadium.

A couple of the club’s under 18s, who are scheduled to play in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday, are likely to make the squad.