SAM Winnall insists the reward of a Wembley final will enable Oxford United to forget any fatigue against Tranmere Rovers tonight.

The U’s host the Sky Bet League Two side in the Papa John’s Trophy semi-final, knowing a win books their place at the national stadium on Sunday, March 14.

An earlier kick-off time of 6pm, due to the game being broadcast live on Sky Sports, means the match begins less than 48 hours after the full-time whistle of United’s win over Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Winnall scored the equaliser in the 2-1 victory and will hope to be involved in some form tonight, despite the quick turnaround.

LISTEN: What has this week got in store for Oxford United?

“Everyone’s looking forward to it, there’s a carrot at the end of the game for us to play at Wembley,” the striker said.

“When you’ve got something at stake that takes over.

“You forget all the aches and pains from the game before.

“We’ve got a brilliant squad here and that will stand us in good stead.

“If the gaffer decides to make changes from the team that started on Sunday, you know that whoever comes in will be just as good as the player they’re replacing.”

United are aiming to reach the final of this competition for the third time in six seasons, after they were runners-up in 2015/16 and 2016/17.

Victory tonight would also secure a second Wembley visit in just eight months, following the Sky Bet League One play-off final defeat to Wycombe Wanderers last July.

Read also: Sam Long expected to make Oxford United return next week

Winnall has already made a telling contribution to United’s Trophy run, opening his account for the club with two goals in the 3-1 quarter-final win over AFC Wimbledon.

The 30-year-old is raring for another opportunity, but is aware he may be replaced by Matty Taylor as head coach Karl Robinson seeks to keep both players fresh.

Winnall said: “We’ve got loads of different options and ways to win games.

“Everyone’s full of confidence and that’s really good when you’re in a semi-final that can potentially get you to Wembley.”

Taylor’s Trophy involvement this season has so far amounted to 25 minutes against Wimbledon, but United’s No 9 will be ready if called upon.

He said: “As soon as we got out of the group stage, our thoughts were ‘can we win it?’.

“Now we’re only one game away (from the final) and we’ll be going all guns blazing to win.

“You want to win things as a player – this is the competition we’re in and you want to look back on it when you retire.”