“He’s Back And Has Been Training” – Oxford United Promotion Ambitions Dealt Major Boost

Oxford United’s chances of gaining all three points from their fixture with Blackpool on Saturday have received a boost with the news of multiple players returning from injury.

Des Buckingham’s side travel to Bloomfield Road on Saturday with the hopes of strengthening their claim for a place in the play-offs. However it is by no means an easy task, with Blackpool also having those same ambitions.

The Tangerines, much like their opponents, sit just outside of the play-offs. Although they are six points of Stevenage in sixth and five behind Oxford in seventh, it is a gap which can easily be closed. Saturday’s matchup has the feel of a real six pointer and a loss for Blackpool could derail any ambitions this season.

Oxford will be feeling quietly confident given that the squad has in fact strengthened in the last week due to players returning from injury. No less than five players who were on the sidelines are expected to be available for selection on Saturday, those being; Jamie Cumming, Billy Bodin, Sam Long, Josh Murphy and Will Goodwin.

Those names returning significantly boosts the strength of the squad and brings some much needed depth which Buckingham will be looking to utilise.

Potentially the most exciting of the quintet who are now available for selection is the club’s marquee January signing, Will Goodwin. The striker joined from Cheltenham Town during the window but is yet to make his debut having arrived at the club with a minor injury. Given he is expected to be the U’s future talisman, it is a huge boost having him fully fit.

Speaking to This is Oxfordshire, manager Buckingham gave an update on Goodwin’s injury.

“He’s back and has been training, and is available for selection, and will travel to Blackpool.

“He’s been patiently waiting, and arrived to us with a slight niggle that he wasn’t even aware of.

“He’s worked extremely hard with Amy [Cranston, head of medical] and our medical team, and the sports science guys, to hopefully prepare him as well as he can, so that when he does enter the field, he can show people what he can do.”

Speaking on the other players returning from injury, Buckingham would go onto say:

“Billy Bodin has been passed fit and will travel with the squad, and Josh Murphy makes a welcome return, with not just quality, but some additional pace to the team.

“Sam Long is back fit after his concussion protocols, and he’s now passed all those tests. Jamie Cumming has trained fully this week, and he’s another one that’s available for selection.

“Joe Bennett will be at Wigan as long as he trains fine, and he’ll be good for selection on Tuesday.”

Writer’s View

With five players expecting to return within the next few days, Oxford’s chances of gaining a play-off spot have greatly improved. The pick of the bunch is obviously Will Goodwin, who fans will be itching to see in action having made the move in January.

It it certainly a tough fixture against Blackpool and Bloomfield Road is no easy ground to go to, that being said, the U’s will fancy their chances. Three points will be huge for their promotion ambitions and would also build some much needed momentum going in to the back end of the season. It should be a tight game, but with the injury boosts, Oxford may just come out on top.

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