Oxford United’s on-loan defender Steve Kinniburgh has gone back to Scotland after the scan on his injured knee revealed he’ll be out for six weeks.

The left back will continue his rehabilitation at Glasgow Rangers, and inevitably there must be some doubt over whether he will return to play for the Blue Square Premier leaders again.

Although the 20-year-old has been excellent, especially with his composure and ability on the ball, it may be that Rangers will want him as back-up, while U’s boss Chris Wilder may look at other options in January when the transfer window reopens.

Kinniburgh picked up the injury in last week’s 1-1 draw with Barrow in the FA Cup. His absence now gives Kevin Sandwith the opportunity to establish himself again on the left side of defence.

Wilder said: “It’s a great shame for Stevie. He’s done well for us and there’s no doubt he is a very, very good player.

“But because of the nature of the injury, we didn’t see much point in keeping him here over Christmas, so he’s returning to Glasgow, and we’ll reassess it in January.”

His Scottish teammate Ross Perry continues, however, at Oxford.

He gave his best showing to date in United’s 1-0 win at Crawley on Tuesday, but Luke Foster’s return from suspension may see Perry dropping down to the bench again when Ebbsfleet visit the Kassam Stadium tomorrow.

There was good news elsewhere on the injury front for the U’s.

Wilder explained: “Damian Batt was back in training today, and Sam Deering, who was not right last week, is better again.

“We’ve also had some decent news about Matt Green. A lot was talked about his knee and rehabilitation, but Matt’s worked fantastically hard to get back and he could start training this week, even with a chance of being available for us again the following weekend.

“He epitomises where the club is at – players don’t sit in the treatment room having a cup of tea, reading the paper and chatting. It’s a working environment – we want to get people back fit again as soon as possible.

“All credit to Lindsay Davis and Jon Brown for getting him back so soon, and it’s not a case of rushing him, they’ve all worked hard to make it possible.”