LUKE McNally says he would jump at the chance of a first-team debut following an exciting fortnight for Oxford United

The Irish centre back has stepped up his development in the last two weeks, having completed a mini pre-season to build up fitness after arriving from St Patrick's Athletic in January.

McNally joined full training for the first time on March 18 and has played twice for United's Under 21 side, scoring a double in yesterday's 4-1 win over Luton Town.

Read also: Oxford United Under 21s ease past Luton

U's head coach Karl Robinson previously said the 21-year-old may have to wait until next season to make his debut, with Elliott Moore and Rob Atkinson mainstays in the heart of defence.

McNally is willing to bide his time, but is ready to grab any opportunity that comes along.

He said: “I don’t think anyone would be happy to take it slowly.

"You always want to push yourself and get involved as much as you can.

"It’s an exciting time at the club and I’m excited to watch them.

"So far it has been great, but if I can get involved it will be even better.

"I’m remaining patient, but always ready to step in.”

The presence of fellow Irishmen Mark Sykes and Anthony Forde has been a boost since his arrival, although lockdown restrictions have proved a headache.

McNally said: “The two lads have been very good, having an Irish accent is nice to hear.

"It’s difficult to settle with Covid as you can’t even go for a coffee, but I’ve done as well as I can.”

The youngster has not played a first-team game since the Irish Premier Division finished in November and his promotion to full training was delayed by a minor hip problem, which 'needed a bit of TLC'.

Read also: Karl Robinson impressed by Luke McNally

He has been impressed with the standard at all levels of United and helped the Under 21s to a 4-3 win over Bristol Rovers last Wednesday before the Luton victory.

McNally said: “It’s good to get minutes in, it’s been a while since I played because of little ongoing hip injuries.

"Training with the first-team is obviously a really high standard and I’ve moved into playing for the 21s.

"It’s a good environment to get minutes in and scoring yesterday was great.”

His goals against Luton came from a free-kick and a corner, but McNally admitted they were not a product of United's extensive set-piece work on the training ground.

He said: “I’d love to say it was, but they go off and do their set-pieces.

"It’s a part of my game, I’m 6ft 4 so I should be getting my head on a lot of set-pieces.

"Rob and Elliott are a real danger, when you’re at that height and you’re powerful you should be scoring.”