SOME of Oxford United’s longer-serving players say this is the best squad they have been involved in at the club.

After ending the transfer window by signing Herbie Kane and keeping hold of Cameron Brannagan, that is true in terms of ability.

But the numbers show the U’s strength in depth has also gone up a notch.

United have used 29 players in the first eight games of the campaign, compared to 26 in 2020/21.

Yes, that figure was boosted by the 11 changes at Cambridge United on Tuesday, but by this point last season they had been involved in four cup games where they also rotated.

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Nine senior players have spent time out through injury already, but United have shared the load better than 12 months ago.

Only Luke McNally and Nathan Holland – who made just three starts – appeared in more than six of the first eight matches.

That number doubled to four players at this point last season, with Sam Long, Liam Kelly and Cameron Brannagan involved in all eight games and Dan Agyei seven.

Keeping players fresh is another reason why the U’s have started better than previous years.

United, like most Sky Bet League One clubs, have a quiet September and play just five matches.

But their strength in depth will surely be crucial as the season wears on.