SAMIR Carruthers believes he can yet deliver a positive contribution to Oxford United’s season.

Karl Robinson’s struggling side tonight host Barnsley, against whom Carruthers picked up a knee injury on the opening day of the season.

It ruled him out for two months, but the on-loan midfielder struggled on his comeback and needed an operation to clear up the problem.

That meant a further three months on the sidelines, but the 25-year-old returned with a goal last week.

While it ended up meaning little in the 5-2 Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Bury, it came as a boost to Carruthers after such a testing campaign.

He said: “It’s been a terrible season to be honest.

“I worked hard in pre-season and was flying, but these things (injuries) happen in football.”

He added: “Mentally the goal was a little hurdle I’ve got over – it was like ‘I’m back now’.

“I’ve still got a long way to go with fitness because I’ve only played 45 minutes, but hopefully I’m getting in the right steps this time.

“I believe in myself, whether that’s coming off the bench or starting.

“Every player has belief they can do something good for the team.”

The Bury debacle came on the back of a terrific 2-1 win over Sky Bet League One leaders Portsmouth.

While United have since slipped into the relegation zone, they would climb out of the bottom four if they avoid defeat.

But against an in-form Barnsley side who ran out 4-0 winners in the reverse fixture, Carruthers knows the U’s must hit top gear.

He said: “They’re flying in the league, but we played Portsmouth last time and did well to get the win.

“Hopefully we can replicate the performance and the result.

“We’re not just going to roll over and let them have the three points.”

United have doubts over Marcus Browne and Cameron Brannagan, who picked up hamstring strains at Bury.

Back-up goalkeeper Jack Walton (knee) is Barnsley’s only injury absentee.


Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Hanson, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels, Mousinho, Henry, Brannagan, Graham, Mackie, Whyte, Browne, Carruthers, Sykes, Long, Kashi, Garbutt, Stevens.

Barnsley: from Davies, Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, B Williams, Brown, Mowatt, McGeehan, Thiam, Moore, Woodrow, Adeboyejo, Green, Hedges, Dougall, Pinillos, Jackson, Greatorex.