A GAP in midweek fixtures has been very welcome for Oxford United this week as they attempt to regroup after a hectic start to the season.

Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at home to Exeter City was United’s eighth game in 26 days, which has stretched a squad depleted by injuries.

After a flying start to the season, which saw the side top npower League Two, they have lost three of their last four games in all competitions – the exception a 1-0 win against Swindon Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Chris Wilder thought the accumulation of fatigue was a factor in last weekend’s defeat.

The United boss is pleased to have some respite this week, which is the first time since the campaign began four weeks ago when the club have not had a midweek game.

He said: “We’ve had a big run of games and it caught up with us a touch on Saturday.

“I thought we were a little bit second best and had heavier legs than usual – there will be no excuses next week.”

While the physical effort of playing twice a week has taken its toll, the other headache for Wilder has been a lack of time to correct tactical and technical problems.

Wilder said: “It’s just been recovery days and trying to get them ready for the games.

“The proof in the pudding is going to be on Saturday.

“But the players are good lads and know the last two league results haven’t been what we’ve wanted.

“I’m sure if we tighten up on certain aspects of our game then we’ll be OK and get back on a winning run.”