JAMIE Hanson is on a mission to make up for lost time today when he becomes available to face Walsall after serving a suspension.

The 22-year-old’s return is a welcome boost to an Oxford United side second bottom in Sky Bet League One and whose long injury list includes fellow midfielder Cameron Brannagan (concussion).

Hanson was red-carded against Newport County last month and the U’s failed in an appeal to get the decision overturned.

It triggered a three-game ban, but the summer signing ended up missing four games due to new disciplinary rules which also prevented him from playing in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Hanson has been doing extra sessions in a frustrating three and a half weeks on the sidelines and is determined to come back strongly.

“I’ve been itching to get out there and I’m just looking forward to it,” he said.

“That’s the worst bit of football, when you’re serving a ban and having to watch games.

“The worst thing was there were no midweek games in the league. I’ve been working hard on the training pitch and doing extra stuff, so if I’m involved hopefully I can hit the ground running.”

In Hanson’s absence, Shandon Baptiste has taken his chance with both hands to establish himself.

Josh Ruffels’s strong performance after replacing Brannagan last weekend gives boss Karl Robinson a headache over whether Hanson comes straight back into the team.

The former Derby County man saw the 0-0 draw at Wycombe Wanderers last weekend and knows United must convert their opportunities.

He said: “We created a lot of chances but couldn’t really take them I think that’s been the story of the season so far.”

“The fans have been brilliant with us, but we need to give something to get them excited.”

Walsall manager Dean Keates is expected to name the same squad as for the 4-1 defeat to Doncaster Rovers last weekend.

Midfielder Adam Chambers is still out following a broken foot.


Oxford Utd: Mitchell, Norman, Nelson, Mousinho, Garbutt, Hanson, Baptiste, Whyte, Henry, Holmes, Smith, Obika, Spasov, Ruffels, Dickie, Raglan, Long, Shearer.

Walsall: from Roberts, Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Leahy, Osbourne, Dobson, Ronan, Cook, Ferrier, Ginnelly, Morris, Gordon, Kinsella, Ismail, Wilson, Johnson, Dunn.

  • OXFORD United owner Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth is due to attend a fans’ forum before the game.

Head coach Karl Robinson and managing director Niall McWilliams will also take questions at the event, held at the Oxford Academy from noon.