SIMON Eastwood is raring to get going again for Oxford United as the goalkeeper returns from injury this afternoon.

The 30-year-old has been out since late November with a knee problem, but will start against Rotherham United.

Last season the U’s struggled without their No 1, but this time he dons the gloves again with Karl Robinson’s side in an even better position than when he suffered the knock.

“I didn’t really doubt it,” he said.

“Last season’s team wasn’t as good as this one so I thought we’d keep pushing up, which we have.

“I’ve been wanting to play for a couple of weeks.

“I thought I could have played in the FA Cup game last weekend, but me and Cameron (Brannagan) have the same injury and it’s quite a strange one.

“I’m still feeling it now but it’s an ache. It’s not that bad and the physios say it’s going to happen.”

Brannagan is also due to return this afternoon, while Robinson can also call on his four new signings.

Although Rob Atkinson may not be involved, Nathan Holland, Marcus Browne and Liam Kelly could all feature.

It boosts the side ahead of two big clashes, with Ipswich Town also visiting the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night.

Eastwood knows they are chances to take points off direct promotion rivals, but the stopper believes United will have to get used to big occasions over the next few months.

He said: “We’ve got a couple of big weeks coming up, but in a couple of weeks we’ll be saying the same thing.

“If we stay where we are then we’ll be saying ‘Saturday is massive’ every week.

“They are two massive games to see where we could be. If we won both we’d be absolutely flying.

“We beat Rotherham at their place, so if we drew with them it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

“But then again, clubs will be coming to Oxford thinking they’d take a draw.

“It’s testament to how well we’ve done at home this season. It’s up to us to keep going and not coming off the gas.”

Rotherham are without injured trio Shaun MacDonald, Clark Robertson and Billy Jones, while full backs Adam Thompson and Joe Mattock are suspended.

But new loan signing Hakeeb Adelakun should come straight into the squad.


Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Long, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffels, Gorrin, Baptiste, Brannagan, Holland, Taylor, Fosu, Mackie, Browne, Agyei, Hall, Sykes, Kelly, Moore, Stevens.

Rotherham Utd: from Iversen, Wiles, Ihiekwe, Wood, Olosunde, Ogbene, Crooks, Barlaser, Adelakun, Vassell, Smith, Ladapo, Lamy, Hastie, Lindsay, Clarke, Price.