Oxford United skipper Phil GIlchrist's hopes of being ready for the start of the Blue Square Premier campaign have been dashed.

Gilchrist broke down in training yesterday as he continued to build-up his fitness following knee surgery in the summer.

Manager Jim Smith admitted he was worried about the former Leicester centre back.

"He won't be fit for the start of the season," said Smith.

"He broke down in training and that's not a good sign. It's difficult to say what is wrong.

"But I should know more in the next few days."

However, there is better news about fellow centre back Chris Willmott.

The ex-Northampton defen- der, who had a knee operation earlier this year is set to play his first game since December when United visit Oxford City tomorrow.

It was thought he would miss the start of the season, but things now look a lot brighter.

Willmott said: "The injury is fine now. It's been so long since I played. Hopefully, tomorrow is the big come- back."

Meanwhile, Smith was pleased with United's display in the 2-1 home defeat against Luton last night.

He said: "The result was not important, but it was a very good workout as I expected.

"There were more positives than negatives. Matt Day was a big plus.

"He has done extremely well - I think he's been our best player in pre-season."

Smith said French defender Arthur Gnohere would be given another run out.

"Arthur did OK. He hasn't played at this level for so long and hasn't done a lot of training.

"He showed us things we know he has got. So he will get another 45 minutes against City."