Oxford welcome back striker Tom Craddock for their New Year`s Day clash against Southend.

Craddock had to wait until Tuesday's win against Macclesfield to serve a one-match ban following a string of postponements.

But the forward is available once again and manager Chris Wilder is delighted to have the 24-year-old back, saying: "Tom is a really good player and with him back it adds to the competition up front.

"Competition is good as the players realise that they need to play well to keep their place in the side."

Jake Wright is fit enough to take a place in the squad after recovering from a broken foot, although he may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Wilder is unlikely to have Leigh Franks fit, however, as the defender remains a doubt with a hamstring problem.

Goalkeeper Glenn Morris is expected to return to Southend`s starting line-up.

Morris has been sidelined with an ankle injury but the Blues' last two matches against Wycombe and Barnet were postponed, allowing the stopper more time to recover.

Manager Paul Sturrock will, though, be without defender Peter Gilbert who sits out the last of his three-game ban following his red card at Stevenage in November.

On-loan Peterborough midfielder Josh Simpson was replaced at half-time at Cheltenham last time out due to an ankle injury but should feature.

Centre-half Bilel Mohsni is also struggling with an ankle injury and could face a late fitness test, while fellow defender Mark Phillips (hernia) is edging closer to a return to action.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
#Leigh Franks
#Mark Phillips
#Oxford Utd
#Jake Wright
#Tom Craddock
#League Two
#Middlesbrough
#Peter Gilbert
#Glenn Morris
Flag article