Tom Craddock returns to Oxford United training

Tom Craddock
Craddock injured a knee in pre season and has not played in this campaign

Oxford United have been boosted by the news Tom Craddock has returned to training from the knee injury that has seen him miss the start of the season.

The U's striker scored 15 times last term but has been out since pre-season.

In the 24-year-old's absence the U's have gone seven games unbeaten in all competitions and are in the quarter-finals of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

"Tom has worked really hard with everything and is right on schedule," said U's physio Andy Lord.

With eight players unavailable for training last week because of injury the news will please Oxford United manager Chris Wilder.

"Getting back to training is always a boost and he has been buzzing," added Lord.

"There is still plenty of hard work to do and we will continue to monitor his progress. There is no point rushing him back but hopefully Tom will be able to return to full-time training soon."

Meanwhile U's captain Jake Wright says the strong bond within the squad is a key ingredient to their recent success.

The U's put in one of their best displays of the season to defeat Bristol Rovers 3-0 on Saturday. The result lifted Wilder's side up to fifth in League Two.

"The spirit is brilliant and it is the best I have ever known and I think that is showing on the pitch," Wright told BBC Oxford.

Two goals from James Constable and a penalty from Peter Leven earned the U's victory on Saturday in front of over 9,000 people. They are now just three points behind leaders Southend.

Wright added: "We are really close off the pitch.

"Normally you get certain cliques at a football club but we are just one big clique to be fair. There are no outsiders and everyone wants everyone to do well.

"You saw that when everyone went over to congratulate Beano (James Constable) on Saturday and the fans and subs were brilliant when Deano (Deane Smalley) scored in midweek and that's what you need.

"You need everyone backing each other and people coming in and doing well."

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