JOSH Murphy is loving the freedom being afforded to him by Des Buckingham, as he continues his sparkling run of form.

The 29-year-old winger has become a key player for Oxford United in recent weeks, that proven by his record in front of goal.

Murphy has netted four goals in eight games, with his latest strike coming in United’s 2-0 win at Port Vale.

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Asked about his role under U’s head coach Buckingham, Murphy said: “I’m absolutely loving it. He likes playing with his wingers, and he wants them to be influential in the game.

“He’s given me lots of freedom and doesn’t mind if I make a mistake. It’s the same for Owen [Dale], and I think you can see it doesn’t matter what side of the pitch the ball is on, everyone knows the ball’s going to come in the box.

“Owen’s been outstanding since he’s come in and I think he deserved a goal. I think he’s a bit gutted in there that he didn’t score.

“I think we’re going in the right direction and we’re having a good attacking input in the game so hopefully that continues.”

Murphy has enjoyed similar goal-packed streaks to the one he’s currently enjoying, with seven strikes in five games coming for Norwich City in the 2016/17 season, and four goals in eight following in the next campaign.

During the 2019/20 season, Murphy scored five goals in six matches for Cardiff City.

He said: “Every goal run that you go on is so important to you. I’m just glad that at the moment my goals are counting for something.

“Maybe earlier in my career, I was getting goals that were in a 2-1 loss, and then it doesn’t really mean much.

“We’re battling to get into those play-off places and goals will help us get into those positions.”

Getting more assists remains a target though for Murphy, who said: “I think everyone knows the frustration if I do a bad cross. I strive to do better for myself, and if I overhit a cross, I get quite angry.

“Maybe I need to curb that frustration, and I can put some more balls in for Sparky [Mark Harris] and Will [Goodwin], and get some more assists.”

Now a senior professional in the changing room, Murphy is relishing being one of the players that can be looked up to.

He said: “I think the boys look at me as one of the senior players. It’s about trying to help each other because it’s a team game.

“We need everyone to pull in the right direction, and if it’s just trying to jeer someone up or get the team going, then so be it.

“I’ve chipped in with the goal, so whatever part I can play in this team, I’m going to do it.”