OXFORD United’s players say they feel a sense of responsibility to preserve their excellent derby run when Swindon Town visit tomorrow.

Only five of the squad were in the first-team set-up the last time the sides met, in February 2017.

The 2-1 victory, memorably sealed by a Rob Hall thunderbolt, was a seventh success since the Robins’ last tasted a derby victory, in 2001.

It is United’s best run in the hotly-contested fixture and although the wins have largely come from their predecessors, there is a willingness among the class of 2020 to embrace the history.

Also read: Oxford United's team news ahead of Swindon Town derby

Josh Ruffels, who was an unused substitute for both league games in the 2016/17 season, said: “It is a responsibility to keep that record going.

“It’s one that the fans are proud of and so are we.

“Funnily enough we had a conversation in the changing rooms the other morning.

“A few of the new lads were saying ‘is that really a derby, is it that massive?’

“We were saying honestly, it’s one of the best atmospheres we’ve experienced.

“They are getting to grips with how important it is and we’ve got to let them know.

“The fans will be buzzing for it.

“It will be the biggest win of the season if we get one over them.”

Ruffels is one of three players, along with Sam Long and Matty Taylor, likely to start tomorrow who are Oxfordshire born and bred.

Taylor was in the stands at the County Ground for a derby when he was a child.

The striker knows all about rivalry after moving from Bristol Rovers to Bristol City in 2017 and believes having a local core of players helps.

He said: “That’s an intense rivalry, as this one is.

“Being a local lad, it’s a big game for the fans.

“Fortunately we have me, Ruffs, Longy from around the area.

“We will be letting the other lads know what the game will be like and how important it is to get the three points.”

He added: “You don’t want to lose any game but I personally don’t want to lose against Swindon.

“I went to games when I was growing up and it’s a huge game for the city.

“You can just sense the atmosphere and the build-up, the whole week is quite intense.

“They will be coming to try to beat us as much as we want to beat them.

“You have to take the emotion out of the game and stick to the game plan, but we’ll be all guns blazing to try to beat them.”