MALACHI Napa returned to Oxford United’s training ground this morning to begin the next stage of his recovery from a virus which has derailed his season.

The winger has been resting up at home for several weeks after picking up the problem while on loan at Macclesfield Town before the new year.

With less than two months of the campaign remaining, United have decided to write off the rest of Napa’s season to avoid any issues.

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The plan is for the 21-year-old to slowly build up his workload, starting today.

U’s boss Karl Robinson said: “We’ve dealt with it. He’s not been able to train or do any physical activity now for two months.

“We feel he’s on the road to recovery.

“He’s been resting at home and hopefully we’ll have more positive news over the next seven days.

“It was a worry but hopefully we’ve got to the bottom of it.

“The medical team have said time is the better way of dealing with it.

“We’ve got to be very careful with it and hopefully he’s on the road to recovery now.”

Napa told United's website: “It has been so frustrating because I was pretty ill and it just left me so weak.

"It was an infection rather than anything long term, but when you are lying there wondering what is going on then all sorts of things go through your head.

"Thankfully we have got to the bottom of it now and it is all cleared up, although it is going to take a bit of time to get fully fit and involved again.”

Napa made 17 appearances for the U’s last season and impressed Robinson, who handed him a three-year contract last August.

It was felt he needed more experience, so was sent out to Sky Bet League Two strugglers Macclesfield for the first half of the season.

He played 22 games for the Silkmen, starting 15, but rarely featured after Sol Campbell replaced Mark Yates in November.

Robinson hopes the patient approach now will reap rewards from the summer.

He said: “He’s a top kid who had a difficult loan at Macclesfield and an even more difficult time with this illness.

"We just hope we see the benefits in pre-season.”