Oxford United could be missing SIX key men for Sunderland clash as Karl Robinson offers injury update

Oxford United could be without SIX key men for the visit of Sunderland this weekend.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 4:45 pm

Left-back Josh Ruffels will certainly miss the game after sustaining an injury in the weekend defeat to Lincoln City, while midfielders Alex Gorrin and Jamie Hanson are longer-term absentees.

New signing Sam Winnall has also picked up a knock while wideman Mark Sykes is also a major doubt for Saturday’s game.

And captain John Mousinho was taken off during the U’s Carabao Cup tie with Watford - leaving Robinson short on numbers.

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson

When asked if Mousinho’s injury was serious, manager Karl Robinson said: "We think so, it’s not good.

"Right now it looks like the injury he received against Sunderland. It’s the same knee and the same type of pain."

Robinson hopes that striker Matty Taylor could return for the visit of the Black Cats, despite being rated as a doubt earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, the EFL have confirmed that four League One fixtures will welcome supporters this weekend.

A quartet of third tier games have been selected as pilot games for the return of spectators, and each will welcome up to 1,000 fans in a COVID-secure way.

An EFL statement read: “Ten EFL Clubs will be permitted to admit spectators into Sky Bet League matches this weekend as part of the ongoing ‘return of fans’ pilot programme.

“As per the current guidance, crowds will be capped at a capacity of 1,000 as discussions continue with the Government about return for supporters’ in greater numbers post October 1, 2020.

“The move to extend the programme follows a successful pilot staged at Cambridge United last week when fans were in attendance at a professional football match for the first time since March.”

The following League One fixtures have been selected to be part of the pilot:

Charlton Athletic v Doncaster Rovers

Blackpool v Swindon Town

Shrewsbury Town v Northampton Town

Hull City v Crewe Alexandra

EFL Chair, Rick Parry said: “It’s encouraging that we are in a position to move forward with the next phase of the pilot programme and give a small number of our Clubs the opportunity to welcome back up to a 1,000 fans this week.

“The health and well-being of supporters and their wider communities remains the priority, but as we showed at Cambridge, social distancing can be applied safely. By extending across more EFL Clubs we hope to further demonstrate that the measures developed can allow fans to return in greater numbers from as early as next month.

“The requirement to welcome spectators back through turnstiles has not diminished in any way, the financial challenges facing EFL Clubs have been explained on numerous occasions, they are substantial and a problem that requires immediate solutions."

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said: "I know that many fans are eager to return to football and that jobs depend on this too, so fans will welcome news that the EFL will be running number capped, covid secure, and socially distanced pilots this weekend. This will help us build the evidence base to see how we can return fans safely in greater numbers as soon as it is safe to do so."

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