OXFORD United players can make their case for more minutes with a good performance tonight, says Craig Short.

The U’s are set to make several changes for the Papa John’s Trophy Southern Group H clash with Tottenham Hotspur Under 21s.

United must win by three goals and hope Cambridge United beat Stevenage by two in a fortnight’s time to reach the knockout stages, so progression is unlikely.

But it is a chance for multiple players who have lacked game-time, with Ryan Williams, Billy Bodin, Anthony Forde, Luke McNally and Dan Agyei among those expected to feature.

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Short will stand-in for Karl Robinson for the final time before the U’s head coach returns from isolation on Thursday and urged tonight’s XI to seize their opportunity.

“It’s not just about the Trophy, the more important thing is to keep a run going and keep performance levels high,” United’s assistant manager said.

“There’s so many players who have played in the Championship, we’ve got some real quality.

“There are lads who will definitely think they should be playing.

“If we lose the next league game they can come knocking on the door if they’ve done well against Spurs.

“They’ve got to set their own standards.

“I tell the players they’re always competing, that’s part of being a professional athlete.”

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Tottenham’s Under 21s visited the Kassam Stadium in this competition in 2018, losing 3-0 in the second round.

That game was watched by 1,422 fans and the controversial presence of ‘B’ teams means another low crowd is expected this evening.

Short sees another side, though, having taken charge of Derby County’s youngsters when they entered the competition in 2016/17.

He said: “I liked it for the development of those lads, because some leave clubs and get a shock.

“It was good for them to play in stadiums, because we mostly played at training grounds.

“Football League clubs have so many fixtures so I can understand why they don’t enjoy it, but it’s valuable for us this week.

“We were going to organise a game behind closed doors for the lads who haven’t had games.”