MARK Sykes says he is enjoying Oxford United’s January schedule ahead of another big game this weekend.

The U’s have no midweek matches this month and play on five successive Saturdays, starting with the 1-1 draw against Cheltenham Town on New Year’s Day and ending at Gillingham on January 29.

This allows for more time on the training pitches, rather than a regime focused on recovery when clubs have two fixtures a week.

It has been suggested that United’s form is better when the games come thick and fast, enabling them to build up a rhythm.

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But as the U’s prepare to travel to promotion rivals Wycombe Wanderers this Saturday, Sykes is happy to have time to breathe.

He said: “People think it’s a lifetime away from each other, but usually it’s the norm.

“Saturday used to be the football day and now you get all your midweek games.

“You barely get those (training) sessions in because you’re constantly playing games.

“When you’re playing the full game every week your body needs to recover.

“You’re always doing the little jogs and preparing for the next game.

“It’s welcome to get Saturday to Saturday back, we work hard in the week in training and hopefully get the points at the weekend.”

United will need to conserve their energy for a punishing run of fixtures that starts at the end of January.

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The Gillingham clash is the first of nine matches in 36 days, including four Tuesday away trips in the space of five weeks.

It is not quite the brutal schedule United were handed last season, when they played nine successive midweek games from the end of January until late March.

The U's face a Wycombe side now six points above them in Sky Bet League One, after the Chairboys’ 2-0 win at Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night took them third.

United dropped a place to sixth, thanks to MK Dons’ 1-0 triumph over AFC Wimbledon.