Johnny Mullins admits he is proud to be Oxford United’s stand-in skipper, but will not let the armband affect his game.

The former Rotherham man was handed the captaincy when Jake Wright was ruled out after picking up a nasty knee injury in the win over Torquay three weeks ago.

Mullins knows that his spell as skipper could be short-lived, and says that the only real change he sees in his game is the amount of complaining he now does to his teammates.

“I’m enjoying leading the team,” he said.

“I maybe moan a little bit more, but I’ve always been a little bit of a moaner, but I don’t think you do anything else that different.

“There should be 11 captains out there though.

“Everyone has something to bring to the side, be it vocally or the way they play.

“It’s a nice feeling to lead the side out, but I’ve said before that Jake is an excellent captain and brilliant around the place.

“Whilst I am captain I enjoy doing it, but as long as we get promoted I couldn’t give a monkey’s who has the armband.”

Mullins echoed the thoughts of caretaker manager Mickey Lewis, who said this week that the amount of key players coming back from injury has provided the squad with a big boost going into the latter part of the season.

And the centre back says that the squad are all excited at the thought of having so many senior players returning.

“We have worked very hard to get to where we are, but there’s a hell of a long way to go still,” he commented.

“The games are coming thick and fast and we’re positive and ready to go for what is almost the run-in.

“You look at the treatment room and that’s improving which can only be a good thing.

“We are doing well at the minute, but when we have the likes of Michael Raynes, Jake Wright, Andy Whing, Ryan Williams, Sean Rigg and Alfie Potter coming back, that competition brings the best out of squads.

“It’s like new signings when these players come back and hopefully the positive impact can be used as a springboard for our run-in.”

Mullins is wary of the danger Mansfield will bring to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow, but is confident United can extend their seven-match unbeaten run.

“Every point counts,” he said.

“Some teams below us have got games in hand, but they have got to go and win those matches.

“We know that in this league anyone can beat anyone on their day, so we have to keep our foot down.”