KARL Robinson believes the benefits of rotating Oxford United’s line-up could be felt for weeks to come.

The U’s head coach has made an average of four changes to his starting XI over the last four games, despite having up to seven players injured or unavailable.

United’s treatment room should start to clear on Saturday, with Sam Winnall due to return for the Sky Bet League One visit of Blackpool.

Meanwhile, James Henry and Sam Long are set to recover from hamstring injuries in time for the home clash with Lincoln City a week tomorrow and the trip to Sunderland on Good Friday respectively.

Analysis: Oxford United showed blueprint for rest of season against Doncaster

Despite having a smaller pool to pick from, Robinson has rotated players to maintain freshness during a congested 2020/21 season.

And after United blew away play-off rivals Doncaster Rovers with a 3-0 win on Tuesday, their head coach hopes the effects are starting to become apparent.

He said: “It doesn’t always pay dividends immediately.

“But something we did on Saturday might not impact the team until next weekend.

“Something we did two weeks ago might have had an impact on Tuesday.

“I can’t ask any more of my players and we’ve got to get ourselves ready for Blackpool on Saturday.”

Against Doncaster, Robinson made four changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Hull City last Saturday and each played an important role.

Karl Robinson: Oxford United took the handbrake off against Doncaster

Matty Taylor scored twice and Brandon Barker claimed two assists, while midfielders Liam Kelly and Alex Gorrin characterised a high-intensity display.

But the U’s boss has tended to only make enforced alterations to his back four, with Elliott Moore, Josh Ruffels, Long and Rob Atkinson all in the top five for most minutes played this season.

Ruffels has featured 36 times this term, passing the 300-game mark for the club last month, and admits he has had to find ways to cope with a gruelling campaign.

He said: “I’m pretty tired to be fair, but there’s a routine you’ve got to get into.

“You’ve got to take training out of it a little bit, rest your body and take the days off as much as you can.

“I’ve been in it for a few seasons and I enjoy it.

“You just recover and go again.

“There’s nothing I’d rather be doing and it’s not like we can do anything else at the moment anyway.

“The more games, the better in a sense.

“You can be tired, but if you’re mentally strong you get through it fine.

“As long as you’re winning it makes it even better.”