MARK Sykes admits staying disciplined has been the biggest factor in his steep learning curve since joining Oxford United.

The 21-year-old had to wait more than a month for his Sky Bet League One debut after signing from Glenavon in January.

But he has taken his chance, helped by a suspension for Cameron Brannagan, starting the last three games.

Sykes came up with his first assist on Saturday, setting up Jerome Sinclair’s opening goal in the 2-1 win against Scunthorpe United.

And while the midfielder has adjusted to life in English football, the biggest change from the part-time game in Northern Ireland has been tactical control.

He said: “I’m learning and developing in terms of my own shape on the pitch.

“Playing back home we’d have been a bit gung-ho and gone for it.

“On Saturday I just sat in and John Mousinho behind me he always lets me know what’s going on. He’s a good lad and has kept me right.

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“I feel like a bit of a greyhound sometimes where I want to go and press the ball.

“But there’s a lot more quality in this league. Back home if you press then people will give you the ball back, whereas they can play round you in this league.

“I don’t mind being a bit more disciplined as long as we keep winning games.”

United’s ongoing battle against relegation means substance trumps style at the moment.

Having ground out a 1-0 win at Blackpool, the U’s were cautious until the latter stages against Scunthorpe.

While Sykes’s game is based on getting forward and creating chances, he knows results – however they come – are the only thing which really matters.

“We’ll take points however they come.

“I’d rather play where it’s not too easy on the eye and get the three points.

“We’ve set our own targets and we know what we need to do. It’s a great start considering last week’s result.

“We’ll always have an eye on what’s going on around us, but most importantly if we’re not winning games we’re not doing our job.

“Winning the last two games and getting the six points is massive for us.

“It’s a bit of a relief.

“We’ve got ourselves into the mess we’re in and we’re trying to get ourselves out of it.

“Hopefully we get on to a bit of a run and see through the season.”