Oxford United’s mounting injury problems were summed up on the training board in Manager Karl Robinson’s office this morning.
There are six columns on the board. On the left are the players involved in tonight’s Under 23 game at Hull City, with the goalkeepers in the next list. Then come the outfield players available to train, which today was just seven players eligible for Saturday’s big home game against Gillingham. With Malachi Napa out on loan at Macclesfield and Gavin Whyte and Aaron Heap away on international duty the final column shows twelve players currently on the injured list.
Ricky Holmes and Josh Ruffels missed Saturday’s FA Cup game against Forest Green Rovers, during which Luke Garbutt was forced off at half time with a hamstring injury and Tony McMahon cracked a rib with 20 minutes left to play but had to carry one with all three subs already used.
Marcus Browne took a kick during that game and Jamie Mackie is suspended on Saturday , joining long-term absentees Rob Hall, Jon Obika, Samir Carruthers, Tsun Dai and Shandon Baptiste in the busy physio room this morning.
“It hopefully looks worse than it actually is,” Karl told us, “because players are away for tonight’s game and we aren’t getting the under 18s involved because they have a big FA Cup game of their own on Wednesday night, but we are pretty light on numbers and there are more in the treatment room than out on the pitches this morning!
“It’s an odd one because so many of them have come from impacts and collisions during matches, there are very few muscular things so it is purely down to bad luck rather than the way we prepare. But we get on with things, we will train well and get ready for the weekend and hopefully as the week goes on a few more are able to be part of training and be part of the squad for what will be another big game for us.”
Tickets are available for Saturday’s game from oufctickets.co.uk and by calling 01865 337533