TOM Craddock is likely to start for Oxford United tonight and the striker is looking to earn a run in the team after regaining his fitness.

The 25-year-old was missed last season as injuries restricted him to just ten appearances, scoring once.

A double against Southend United last month means Craddock has already improved on the tally for this campaign.

After shaking off a minor problem in the last week, the former Middlesbrough forward is expected to start in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against Swindon Town.

Craddock is hoping to re-establish himself after getting a good summer of training behind him.

He said: “I feel fine – obviously pre-season is about getting rid of the cobwebs, you always have some, but I think I had more than most.

“I played a lot of minutes in pre-season, didn’t miss any training sessions and I’m feeling sharp now.

“Hopefully I can play well when called upon and get a run in the team.”

Craddock was delighted to open his account for the season against Southend, when he came off the bench to score both goals in a 2-0 win – his first strikes for eight months.

He said: “In the games before that, I had chances against Bournemouth and Bristol Rovers.

“I was getting in the right positions. The finishing hasn’t been as sharp as I would’ve liked, apart from Southend, but it’s always nice to get off the mark early doors and hopefully I can add to that pretty soon.”

The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy does not figure prominently on many people’s priorities, but past experience means the United striker sees things very differently.

Craddock won the competition with Luton Town in 2009, scoring in the final as Scunthorpe United were beaten 3-2.

He said: “We played at Wembley in front of 70,000 people, so it’s not bad.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity. It’s a trophy at the end of the day and should be taken seriously.”