Oxford United: Michael Appleton calls on fringe players to make impact

Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton
Michael Appleton's Oxford United side have lost just one of their past eight League One games

Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton hopes fringe players will create selection headaches for him with their performances off the bench.

Chey Dunkley's second-half strike at Gillingham provided Appleton's side with a 1-0 win on Monday.

"If people want to get into the team, they have to make an impact as subs," Appleton told BBC Radio Oxford.

"I don't want to be Mr Grinch, but the reality is if you want to play, you have to ask questions of my selection."

Appleton continued: "Don't make my life easy so that I keep picking the same players.

"I don't want to do that anyhow, that's why it's important the lads on the periphery come on and impress."

Dunkley's winner at Priestfield was Oxford's first goal in three games and lifted them into the top half of League One.

Oxford turn their attentions to an FA Cup tie at Championship strugglers Rotherham on Saturday and Appleton admitted it was unlikely any new additions to his squad would be secured before the tie.

"I wouldn't say anything is imminent," Appleton replied when asked about potential transfer window business. "But, we're certainly having positive discussions with people."

One piece of business which has been confirmed has seen defender Charlie Raglan extend his loan deal from Chesterfield until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old has made 13 appearances in all competitions so far this campaign.