CIARON Brown knows Oxford United’s performance against Crystal Palace means nothing if they cannot back it up in Sky Bet League One.

The U’s return to third-tier action tomorrow when they travel to Cheltenham Town (3pm).

United lost 2-0 to Palace in the Carabao Cup second round on Tuesday, but they were praised for their positivity against Premier League opponents in an entertaining first half.

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Karl Robinson’s side need to start climbing the League One table, though, and Brown is aware their midweek display must be a platform to build from.

“I think that first half was the best performance we’ve had this season,” the defender said.

“We all know it was a good performance, but everyone was sitting at home on Wednesday thinking about Saturday.

“That kickstarted us into thinking how we should be playing every week.

“Obviously it was Palace and there wasn’t much pressure for us to go out and win, but it shows what we can do against top opposition.

“There’s no reason why we can’t do that week-in, week-out against teams in League One.

“We always want to play well, but we also always want to win.

“The performances have portrayed that we’re going in the right direction, but we also need three points on the board.

“We improve every game, but we now need to get up that table as much as we can.”

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United are 19th in League One and have only claimed one win in 90 minutes this season, the 1-0 triumph over Cambridge United on August 6.

They beat Swansea City on penalties in the Carabao Cup three days later, Brown’s first start of the campaign.

The 24-year-old has been deployed alongside four players on the three occasions he has featured in Karl Robinson’s XI since his summer return from Cardiff City.

Brown started next to Elliott Moore against Swansea, before partnering Stuart Findlay for last Saturday’s draw with Morecambe after the U’s captain was sidelined through injury.

The Northern Ireland international was then stationed in a back three for the Palace clash, alongside Sam Long and John Mousinho.

The latter used all his experience to keep multi-million pound striker Jean-Philippe Mateta quiet in his first appearance since March.

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And Brown could not talk highly enough of the 36-year-old club captain.

He said: “He makes your job so much easier by the way he talks and plays, his experience.

“I really enjoy playing next to him, he’s a very good player and when he’s called upon he helps the team a lot more than people might think.

“If he can play to those levels by the age of 36 you can only respect him and try to do similar things.

“Without playing, all the boys look up to him in the changing room, he’s well-respected at the club.

“Most people would look at him and say ‘I’d love to be him at that age’.”