ALEX Gorrin believes Oxford United showed they are on course for the start of the season with a narrow defeat at home to Queens Park Rangers.

The summer signing announced himself to the Kassam Stadium crowd with a high-quality finish in the first half.

It halved the deficit following Luke Amos’s quick brace and despite both sides going on to hit the woodwork, the scoreline remained 2-1 to the Sky Bet Championship visitors.

With just two more warm-up games before the start of the season on August 3, time is running out to get up and running.

But while the manner of the goals conceded was soft, Gorrin felt the overall display against QPR showed reasons to be optimistic the U’s would be ready.

He said: “I think we’re in pretty good shape, but the more games you play the more the team comes together.

“It will be good to have these two games, but I think we’re on the right path.

“No-one likes to lose, but I think we showed character.

“We scored and had a couple of chances to get something out of the game.

“It’s a new team so we’re just getting to know each other, but we’re competing well.”

Gorrin is not known as a goalscoring midfielder, but seized the chance impressively to mark his home debut.

“To be honest when the ball came I only had that gap to put it in,” he said. “I got a nice contact on it.”

Having watched a “crazy five minutes” to see his side slip 2-0 behind, boss Karl Robinson was far happier with the second half performance.

He said: “I’d love to see when we’ve all got our players on the pitch how far we really are off them.

“It didn’t look like there was a gulf in leagues.

“With the performance we put in at certain stages that made us competitive, it wasn’t a bad run out.”

The head coach also explained Jamie Mackie’s omission from the line-up, having said on Thursday the striker would feature for the first time in pre-season.

Instead there was a change of plan to get more training into the forward, who has been troubled by a back injury.

Robinson said: “We felt it was better for him to train in more controllable (conditions). He’s trained the last three days and he’ll play some part on Tuesday against Fulham.”