LUKE McNally insists Oxford United will play on the front foot as they aim to triumph over adversity this afternoon.

The U’s welcome Sky Bet League One leaders Rotherham United to the Kassam Stadium (3pm) and the odds appear stacked against them.

Seven players are still isolating with Covid and several more are missing through injury, leaving just 13 available members of the first-team squad.

It is far from ideal against a Rotherham side who are 15 games unbeaten, as well as boasting the division’s best attacking and defensive record.

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Yet McNally, fresh from scoring his first goal in English football in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Fleetwood Town, is bullish about United’s prospects.

The centre back said: “They’re a very strong team, but we relish the challenge.

“Our backs are against the wall a little bit and that’s when we have to come out swinging.

“Thankfully we did (on Tuesday) and by no means are we going to sit off.

“We’re going to try to win the game, so we’re really looking forward to it.”

The 22-year-old spoke earlier this week about a ‘mad’ few days at United, which came to light the moment last Saturday’s trip to Wigan Athletic was postponed due to the Covid outbreak.

The strictest ‘red’ protocols were in place at Oxford Sports Park until another round of negative tests on Thursday, to prevent any more players or staff catching the virus.

And McNally feels the United squad have risen to the challenge.

“I think the boys who have been available really enjoy it, our team’s in bits and we’ve just rocked up,” he said.

“It’s been strange, I went to get a massage before the game and there were no players in there.

“Usually you have to queue up behind all the boys, but it was very quiet.”