THE qualities of returning senior players were highlighted by Chris Wilder as key to Oxford United’s thrashing of Accrington Stanley, writes DAVID PRITCHARD.

The U’s ran out 5-0 winners at the Kassam Stadium, marking a huge leap forward from their previous outing, a 3-0 defeat at Port Vale last Monday.

In the wake of the setback, Wilder turned to his most experienced players, who have been out through injury.

And he felt the impact made by the likes of Andy Whing, Peter Leven and Lee Cox should not be underestimated.

He said: “I think you saw the influence of the senior players coming back on to the pitch.

“I wanted players, staff and most importantly the supporters to walk out of the ground on a high.

“It was vital we did the right things at the right times, and that comes with your senior players – everyone did very well.”

Tom Craddock stole the limelight by scoring four goals, but James Constable, who had a hand in three of them, was singled out for special praise.

The 28-year-old has gone through a lean spell, but the U’s boss described his all-action performance as a “throwback” to the striker at his best.

Wilder revealed Constable had been shown clips of his United goals to act as an inspiration and was delighted with the response.

He said: “If I was (Craddock) I’d go and buy James Constable a beer.

“I thought that’s the best Beano has played for about a year and a half.

“We spoke to him and the rest of the players in the week about what we think and what they need to do better.

“We showed him a DVD of all the goals he scored in the Conference and his first year (in League Two).

“Hopefully showing him made a difference because when he plays like that he’s a right handful.”

The only slight sour note was an ankle injury to Tony Capaldi, who was forced off at half-time.

More will be known on the severity of the problem today.

On yesterday’s FA Cup draw, which sees United travel to Barnet, Wilder added: “I’m pretty content with the draw.

“We would’ve loved to have been at home, but it gives us an opportunity to go through and I think both sides will see it like that.”