OXFORD United's academy players have taken on a 1,000-mile challenge this week for a good cause.

Gordon Kille, who was a long-serving police officer in the area and has been involved with Brackley Town, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year.

In a bid to raise money for research into the disorder, a team - including former U's player Callum O'Dowda's parents - is climbing the 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro this week.

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They are attempting to raise £19,340, but are also asking people to 'donate' miles from their physical activity.

The target is 19,340 miles and United's academy are aiming to contribute 1,000 over the course of seven days.

Dan Harris, who leads the club's youth set-up, has known Kille for a long time.

He said: "It's a hugely debilitating illness, as we know.

"But Gordon's attacked it in the same way he attacked every other part of his life, which is to go head-on at it and see if he can do some good from it.

"As an academy this week every mile we cover in training and games across our entire programme we're donating to the campaign to raise the profile and hopefully put some good into that research.

"Anybody, whether you're dog walking, riding your bike, going for a run, the campaign is asking people to donate those miles to raise the profile.

"It would be great if all the people across Oxfordshire donate their dog walking miles. It doesn't cost you anything and if people have a few spare pounds to put into the JustGiving campaign as well then fantastic."

United's youngsters racked up 299 miles in their matches over the weekend.

And Harris felt it was a useful way to build on the good work which had emerged across the age groups during lockdown.

He said: "We know the pandemic has been a real challenge for people in all walks of life, but one of the good things to come out of it is we've seen in our young players more of a sense of recognising there is life outside of football.

"We don't want to lose that as we get back into football.

"We've said before we're here to invest in the lives of young footballers and we want to produce high-quality men that can take their place in the world.

"We saw that in lockdown and want to carry on building on that as we carry on through the football."