DES Buckingham says Tyler Goodrham and Josh Murphy are close to starting for Oxford United in the league, after both put in impressive displays as the U’s progressed in the EFL Trophy.

Goodrham scored the only goal of the game as United won at Forest Green Rovers, to book a place in the last 16 of the competition.

The goal came four minutes into the second half, firing in following excellent work down the left-hand side by Murphy, who had only come on as a substitute at half-time.

Goodrham hasn’t started a match in Sky Bet League One since the 2-0 win against Lincoln City at the end of October, while Murphy hasn’t begun a league game all season.

U’s head coach Buckingham said: “He’s [Murphy] having a good patch at the minute. I wasn’t here at the start of the season, but I’m told he came back in extremely good condition and he was very hungry to show what he can do.

“Every time he comes onto the pitch, he’s having an impact, and the impact he had for the goal tonight was the assist, and that pace he showed down that left-hand side, to get the assist for a well-finished goal from Tyler.”

Asked whether the pair were close to starting in the league, Buckingham said: “They are, and that’s the pleasing thing. Spending time with them now and getting to understand what they can do on a day-to-day basis, and then when they get the opportunities, they perform.”

He added: “We’ve come here against what is pretty much a full strength Forest Green side, and for them to put the performance in like they just have and come away with a good result puts us in a good position performance-wise.

“More importantly, those players that haven’t had as many minutes in the past couple of weeks have just shown that they’re ready should they be called upon.”

Joe Bennett was solid at left back for United on his debut, managing an hour before being replaced by Fin Stevens.

Buckingham said: “I think when you bring someone in that’s got the experience of Joe Bennett, he’s maybe able to last a bit longer than someone else.

“That was his first game of the season, but he was very comfortable and there was a temptation to leave him on.

“You have to manage him and give him the minutes he needs because he’s going to be so important to us in the next couple of games.

“Ciaron [Brown] can obviously play centre back, so it gives us that other option. Joe gives us something different on that left-hand side.”

On the EFL Trophy, Buckingham added: “It serves two purposes, the first is making sure we get minutes into all of our squad, which is going to be so important as we go into December with the games that we have.

“The second is that players want to play, they’d rather do this than train, and it gives them the opportunity to put themselves forward for more game time.”