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Sykes Boost as U's face Stevenage

Midfielder available for Papa John's Trophy

4 October 2021

Oxford United have been given a boost ahead of Tuesday night’s home game against Stevenage in the Papa John’s Trophy with Mark Sykes given the all clear to be involved

Midfielder Sykes was ruled out of Saturday’s away win at Sheffield Wednesday but Manager Karl Robinson explained earlier today what actually happened.

“It’s great that Sykesy could come in and train today and be around the group as usual” he said. “Last week we had a number of players feeling under the weather and we tested them all. Gavin Whyte and Marcus McGuane didn’t travel but then when we got their results through we needed to check the proximity of all the players last week, which is a major job. We do the right things and we didn’t want to take risks so Sykesy was removed from the squad and travelled home separately rather than be around the group.

“Over the weekend we were able to do a more thorough check and it’s fine, we have followed the correct protocols and he can train as usual.

“Just to clarify everything there were two players feeling ill last week. One was James Henry but he tested negative, was feeling better on Saturday morning, travelled up and scored the winning goal! Billy Bodin was less fortunate and has been ill but not covid related and is still feeling unwell so won’t be available on Tuesday. The only other medical problem was Jordan Thorniley who had terrible toothache last week but responded well to the antibiotics and I thought was outstanding on Saturday.

“It caused a bit of chaos on Saturday lunchtime but maybe we should do it every game because the lads responded well to it all and got a big win.

“Now, with no game on Saturday we have to think about how we do things on Tuesday. Alex Gorrin has flown home to see his family- he couldn’t do that for a long long time and he will benefit from it and Luke McNally is suspended and will also go home this week. He has settled in really well but it’s a chance for him to go see his family as well.

“So those two will be missing on Tuesday but we have no fixture on Saturday so the players can have a couple of days off and then they will be there on Sunday for Micky Lewis’s game because it’s important they fully understand what a great servant he was to this club.”

See a full preview in iFollow right now then come along and see the U’s in action on Tuesday night. Tickets are available here.

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