Oxford United v Southend preview

Date published: Friday 31st December 2010 2:13

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Oxford welcome back striker Tom Craddock for their clash against Southend.

Craddock had to wait until Tuesday’s win against Macclesfield to serve a one-match ban following a string of postponements.

But the forward is available once again, and manager Chris Wilder is delighted to have the 24-year-old back, saying: “Tom is a really good player and with him back it adds to the competition up front.

“Competition is good as the players realise that they need to play well to keep their place in the side.”

Jake Wright is fit enough to take a place in the squad after recovering from a broken foot, although he may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Wilder is unlikely to have Leigh Franks fit, however, as the defender remains a doubt with a hamstring problem.

Goalkeeper Glenn Morris is expected to return to Southend’s starting line-up.

Morris has been sidelined with an ankle injury but the Blues’ last two matches against Wycombe and Barnet were postponed, allowing the stopper more time to recover.

Manager Paul Sturrock will, though, be without on-loan Peterborough midfielder Josh Simpson after he was recalled by the League One outfit who have agreed terms for his January sale to an unnamed rival club, with non-league Crawley heavily tipped to have secured his services.

Defender Peter Gilbert sits out the last of his three-game ban following his red card at Stevenage in November.

Centre-half Bilel Mohsni is also struggling with an ankle injury and could face a late fitness test, while fellow defender Mark Phillips (hernia) is edging closer to a return to action.

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