KARL Robinson was relieved his gambles over player fitness paid off in Oxford United’s play-off semi-final first leg at Fratton Park.

Matty Taylor has been a particular concern since the squad returned to training last month, but managed to play 73 minutes against Portsmouth before being replaced by Jamie Mackie.

Marcus Browne has also had a niggle but lasted even longer before making way, by which time the Middlesbrough loanee had bagged United’s goal in the 1-1 draw.

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Robinson, the U’s head coach, said: “We can talk now that Matty Taylor’s not trained for three weeks, Browney’s had one or two little things.

“So to get those two off the pitch and know they are available for Monday was a real positive for us.”

The only knock picked up during the game was to midfielder Cameron Brannagan.

He limped out of the ground and will be monitored closely in the next 48 hours, but the early indications are positive.

Robinson said: “We think it’s cramp. We’re going back now for recovery.

“We’ll train again (on Saturday) when we’ll have more of an assessment on it.

“We’ve had a few niggles in the last seven days.

“The thing I’m most excited about now is I’ve got nothing in there (to worry about).

“We go again on Monday and it will be an even better game I hope.”

Overall the United boss felt it was a fair result, with the visitors overcoming a sluggish start to get back on level terms.

He said: “If this was in the league I think the fans would be saying what a fantastic away performance.

“We were both coming up against very good teams. I think we’ll all take that.”