DES Buckingham hopes Josh Murphy’s first league goal for Oxford United will take a weight off the winger.

The 28-year-old has endured a topsy-turvy time with the club since joining in July 2022, with injuries and loss of form getting in the way of some eye-catching individual performances, particularly under Buckingham.

Murphy made it 1-1 at home to Wigan Athletic last night, when he arrowed in a strike from the edge of the box, netting his first league goal for United in the process.

The effort backed up his brace against Chelsea Under-21s in the EFL Trophy earlier this season, and the relief was clear to see in his celebration against the Latics.

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U’s head coach Buckingham said: “I think when there’s a change in management maybe, some players get a breath of fresh air and an opportunity.

“He’s worked extremely hard, and worked so hard in the off-season to come back and start this season well.

“The frustration was that he was playing well, and got the injury, so he’s been out for a period of time.

“He’s been extremely unlucky with some of the chances created before the injury, and to get him back out on the field, and his first goal, will take the weight off.

“We saw that with Mark Harris, and he plays with a freedom and a smile. Josh, if he can play with his smile again, he’s got the pace and skillset to cause teams problems in this league.”