Midfield target Michael Standing can become a more effective playmaker for Oxford United than Andy Burgess.

That is the view of U's boss Jim Smith ahead of tonight's final pre-season friendly against Birmingham City at the Kassam Stadium, following Burgess's free transfer back to his old club Rushden - and Standing's impressive contribution to the U's 1-1 draw against Wycombe on Friday night.

Smith said: "I think Michael will be more effective, in that he'll do it for longer periods.

"Burge had special skills when he wanted to do it. But he wasn't there enough, whereas Michael Standing, if he can do what we've seen already, will be doing it for sustained periods in games.

"Whatever we said about Burge, it was never for a sustained period that he was absolutely brilliant."

United did not receive a fee for the left-sided Burgess, whose ability had attracted interest from bigger clubs, but in the end was only courted by the club where he began his career.

"You need a lot more than ability," Smith insisted.

"Ability is good, but it doesn't take you anywhere in the modern game unless you work hard and do it consistently.

"To be honest, it tells you everything where he's gone."

Standing showed a number of times in the second half against Wycombe that he can open up opposing defences, although he's a very different kind of player to Burgess.

United are now set to offer him a deal. And fellow triallist Arthur Gnohere looks likely to be offered a short-term contract.

"I don't want to get carried away with Michael because he obviously hasn't been doing it regularly over the last couple of years, maybe he hasn't had the chance," Smith said.

"All I can give him is every credit for coming in from day one, no money, no expenses, nothing, to try to prove that he could be a good player for us, and could be signed by us.

"You've got to give him 110 per cent for his attitude.

"His ability was always there. As a kid he was signed by Villa from Brighton.

"Looking at him, and I don't know the history too much, you can see he's a good player.

"Maybe he didn't have the physique for the Premiership.

"But he's certainly got the nouse and the intelligence to play and give teams problems in our league."

French defender Gnohere had a difficult first 15 minutes when he came on against Wycombe, and was partly responsible for the visitors' goal, but Smith believes he can become a useful asset.

"All three of them at the back had a difficult time at the start of the seond half," he said.

"Arthur has literally come in from being injured for over 18 months, to playing.

"Fortunately he suffered no after-effects from playing 60 or 70 minutes the other night and then this game, so I can only see him getting stronger."