SAM Long is set to return for Oxford United next week after his hamstring injury was less serious than initially feared.

The right back was forced off before half-time during last Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers and had a scan to assess the problem.

He was absent for yesterday’s victory over Wigan Athletic - the first Sky Bet League One game the 26-year-old has missed this season.

Player ratings: Oxford United's win over Wigan

But Karl Robinson expects Long to be back for the visit of Portsmouth in eight days’ time.

“He’ll be back for Portsmouth,” the U’s head coach said.

“We thought it might be a bit more severe, but it’s the minimum amount of injury you can have in that area.

“With Jamie Hanson and Anthony Forde, it’s one position that we have very good back-up.”

Forde replaced Long in the line-up against Wigan as Robinson made five changes to the side that won at Rovers.

More alterations are expected for tomorrow’s Papa John’s Trophy semi-final against Tranmere Rovers as United play for the second time in 48 hours.

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With the quick turnaround in mind, Robinson revealed his line-up to the squad before the weekend to give them the best possible chance of being fresh.

He said: “We picked the teams (for both games) on Friday.

“It has given everyone time to understand how they’ve got to recover and prepare.

“We feel our preparation has gone well and the players are ready to perform.

“We have a really good squad, but our squad depth is going to be challenged more than ever.”