ANTHONY Forde is happy to step up and fill the void in Oxford United’s midfield tomorrow.

Alex Gorrin is serving a one-game suspension against Shrewsbury Town after reaching five bookings for the Sky Bet League One campaign.

That causes head coach Karl Robinson a headache, with all of the alternatives having a question mark against their name.

Cameron Brannagan (knee) and Shandon Baptiste (groin) have both suffered setbacks this week, although they could yet be in the frame for the visit to Milton Keynes Dons next Saturday.

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Jamie Hanson will be in the squad, but after playing just 22 minutes on his return in midweek after three months out he may not be ready to start.

Forde was signed as a winger, but the Irishman has shown himself to be capable in a central role to help United out in recent weeks.

While a defensive job in Gorrin’s stead would be a new position, the 26-year-old is no stranger to playing infield.

“If I’m asked to play there I will, but I’ve not played in defensive midfield,” he said.

“I actually was a centre midfielder when I was younger.

“When I moved to England the closer I got to the first team I was moved out wide.

“Some people said I would always return to the middle at some point.

“You need a few games to get used to it, but I’ve enjoyed it and felt comfortable.”

Forde was not one of the higher-profile summer signings, but he has quietly made a big impression on Robinson.

He said: “I think what has arisen from this situation is how good Anthony Forde is.

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“He’s one where if your daughter comes home with Fordey you’re a very happy father, because he’s one of the nicest young men you will ever meet.

“He’s an absolute credit, he goes about his business the same if he plays or not.

“You ask him to play right back, left wing, central midfield he smiles and says ‘OK gaffer’ and he’s always a seven out of ten.”

The clash with Shrewsbury is only United’s third league game in five weeks, but they come thick and fast during December.

While Robinson’s men are ten unbeaten in the division, they are only in the play-off places on goal difference so the picture can change quickly.

Forde said: “You see how tight it is. Every team is going to be thinking the same.

“It’s definitely a big part of the season.

“When you’re successful around this period it can make a big difference.”