OXFORD United have reduced their training schedule in a bid to best cope with the festive programme.

The home game with Sky Bet League One leaders Wigan Athletic on Saturday is the first of four fixtures in the space of ten days.

It is the busiest run of the whole season and United need a strong run if they are to begin 2018 still in the play-off hunt.

With that in mind, alterations which prioritise recovery over training, were made last week and will continue until mid-January.

United manager Pep Clotet said: “I think the most important thing is to make sure we’re able to recover the effort we put into every game, so we can compete in the next one on a similar level.

“Recovery is becoming one of the major trends in training.

“It’s not (just) about how much you train, it’s also how well you recover to train at a better level.

“During this period I’m very focused on preparing for the games and giving the right recovery.

“That’s why we’ve changed the schedule.

“I think that might help the team go through Christmas.

“We started that last week so everyone gets used to the recovery procedures before Christmas comes.”

The routine for a blank week so far has been to have Sunday and Monday off and then train for four days.

Now the squad are resting up on Sunday and Wednesday, with Monday used as a light recovery day.

And with less time spent on the training pitch, it increases the importance of the sessions done on the training camp in Spain last month.

Clotet said: “Everything was planned in that direction.

“We put all the volume we might need in training there and now it’s about preparing for the games and using the training to top up our physical demands.”

The approach has been welcomed by Mike Williamson.

The experienced centre back said: “We’ve had a few injuries which has been difficult and the squad has coped.

“It’s definitely about recovery now to make sure the lads are fit, strong and focused to execute the game plan.”

(kick-off 3pm unless stated)

  • Sat, Dec 22: Wigan Ath H
  • Tues, Dec 26: Gillingham (1pm) a
  • Sat, Dec 30: Bradford City a
  • Mon, Jan 1: MK Dons H