JOEL Cooper will not feature for Oxford United at Peterborough United on Saturday.

It was felt the turnaround after international duty was going to be too tight, so the winger has been granted a couple of days to spend with his family.

Cooper was away with the Northern Ireland squad, but is still waiting to make his senior debut.

After being left out of the matchday squad altogether for the first two matches of the window, he was an unused substitute against Norway on Wednesday.

The squad only returned to Belfast from Oslo today.

Given Cooper then would have had to travel back to England and undergo a Covid test before he could link up with the group, United opted against rushing him back.

United head coach Karl Robinson said: “We’ll give him a bit of time at the weekend.

“He’s found it hard, he’s got a young family so he will be back on Sunday to test on Monday and be involved in the game on Tuesday (at home to MK Dons).”

Robinson had already spoken of his frustration that Cooper had not played a minute while away with his country.

While other members of the squad at Premier League and Championship clubs did not miss games, teams in the third tier play on unless they have three call-ups.

The U’s boss said: “I think something needs to be looked at when you have players from League One who aren’t in squads and then the third one just on the bench.

“You have to respect the decisions they make. I just hope we can have a better dialogue going forward.

“Joel’s missed key opportunities to play.”