SAM Long believes a run in the Oxford United side is getting the best out of him as the full back eyes a precious three points today.

The defender, who turned 25 on Thursday, is all set for his fourth start in a row when Karl Robinson’s men visit Gillingham this afternoon.

It is his longest sequence since the end of last season and Long has made the most of Chris Cadden’s departure at the start of the month.

United are attempting to sign a replacement, but the right back, who was man of the match in Tuesday’s draw with Ipswich Town, is enjoying the opportunity.

He said: “I thrived on it last year when I got a run in the team and my performances showed that.

“Hopefully I can do the same this year and show what I’m capable of again.

“A lot of players who are on the fringes say the same thing, that it is very difficult to come in for one game (before dropping out again).

“Credit to all the boys that have done that, we’ve given the manager a headache.”

United head to Kent looking for their first Sky Bet League One victory of 2020.

They beat Gillingham 3-0 at the Kassam Stadium in September, but Steve Evans’s side are on a seven-game unbeaten run.

Long though knows every game carries extra significance with the U’s striving to make the most of their position among the division’s leading pack.

He said: “It’s so important for us to keep the momentum going into the last few months of the season because we want to go up, but we want to go up automatically.

“The play-offs are the minimum we want and winning the majority of our games is so important to us.”

He added: “They are a good side and have shown that in their results recently.

“Hopefully our quality will shine through and win the game.

“All you can guarantee is the work rate and desire to win and I’m sure we’ll have that.”

Robinson is unlikely to make many changes to his line-up from midweek, but the head coach did hint at one injury which emerged from the Ipswich game that would have an impact today.


Gillingham: from Bonham, Fuller, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Jones, O’Connor, Tucker, O’Keeffe, Roberts, Lee, Hanlan, Jakubiak, Mandron, Marshall, Pringle, Charles-Cook, Willock, Marsh.

Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Long, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffels, Gorrin, Baptiste, Browne, Sykes, Mackie, Holland, Taylor, Fosu, Hall, Agyei, Brannagan, Kelly, Moore, Stevens.