SAM Long says Oxford United will not use injuries as an excuse, as the team prepares to welcome back five players, including himself, this weekend.

The U’s have been blighted by injury problems this season, with a number of players being unavailable for periods due to various fitness concerns.

Long is one of those, having suffered an ankle injury inside the opening few minutes of United’s 2-0 win at Lincoln City on October 31.

His comeback at home to Barnsley last month lasted less than half an hour, after taking a blow to the head.

The 29-year-old has had to watch from the sidelines for the last three games as he followed concussion protocols, however he is now back in contention for the trip to Blackpool.

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He said: “It’s frustrating and strict, but it’s obviously there for a reason. You’ve got to respect it, and that’s what we’ve done.

“I missed three games in the end, but speaking to the medical staff, it was the right thing to do.

“I’ve got a nasty scar as well. It was frustrating, but if you look back on it with no emotion, it was the right decision.”

Discussing the wider injury situation, Long said: “For all the time I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve seen the physio room so busy.

“It all came at the same time, at a transition period as well, with the new manager coming in.

“It hasn’t been easy, but we’re not going to make excuses. We’ve got a big enough squad to be able to handle that.

“Yes, we’ve been thin, but we’ve got good players still available. We’re disappointed at some of the results we’ve had.

“We know we’re more than capable of putting a run together, and being consistent, and that’s what we fully expect to do.”

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Previewing the weekend’s game at fellow Sky Bet League One promotion hopefuls Blackpool, Long said: “They’ll be high-energy. They’ve got Kyle [Joseph] up top, who was here last year, and we know all about him.

“They’ve got good players and quite a lot of them have played in the Championship.

“We expect it to be a really tough test. They’ve got the best home record, so it’ll be a stern test.

“We’ve put a game plan together and have an idea of how we want to play against them, to try and nullify them, and show our strengths.”

He added: “Any game at this stage, you want to win, but these games have that extra added incentive because if you win, you can go clear of the teams below you.

“Our aim is to go there and put in a good performance and get the three points.”