OXFORD United must embrace the fear of their situation to find some consistency, according to skipper John Mousinho.

The U’s head to Burton Albion today outside the Sky Bet League One relegation zone on goal difference.

They have lifted themselves above the dotted line thanks to five points from meetings with Fleetwood Town and high-flying pair Portsmouth and Barnsley.

But during that run there was a 5-2 defeat at Bury in the Checkatrade Trophy, while the upturn in league form came after three successive defeats.

The inconsistency has been a big problem for United – and captain Mousinho believes the way to solving it is counter-intuitive.

He said: “What has been happening this season is we’ve done well and then lost.

“Then we’ve had a big reaction and won, then we think we’re a good side.

“The natural reaction after a good performance is to praise the lads, but bizarrely this season it hasn’t really worked for us because it seems as a squad we get carried away.

“We’ve been much better when we’ve played with a bit of fear and a bit of edge.

“All of a sudden we don’t tighten up, we sharpen up, win our challenges and do the basics properly and lo and behold we win the game.

“If we keep the pressure on we perform a lot better.”

The game will be Mousinho’s first at the Pirelli Stadium since a highly-successful three-year spell ended when he joined the U’s in 2017.

He said: “I’ve got fond memories and I’ll never deny I have got that affinity with the club.

“That’s a nice thing to have maybe when I’ve retired and I can go back and sit in the players’ lounge, but it really is about being clinical and trying to get the job done.”

United’s one injury doubt is Marcus Browne (hamstring), but if he is available United will have to leave one of their loan players out.

Jerome Sinclair’s arrival means they have six – one more than the maximum permitted in an 18-man matchday squad.

Fellow new boy Jonte Smith is unlikely to feature though, as the U’s finalise the paperwork of his signing yesterday.

Burton could hand a debut to Alex Bradley after the midfielder joined on loan from West Bromwich Albion, while Ben Turner and Marvin Sordell left on Thursday.


Burton Alb: from Collins, Clarke, Brayford, Buxton, Hutchinson, Quinn, Fraser, Allen, Harness, Boyce, Akins, Bradley, Sbarra, Miller, Templeton, Wallace, Fox, McCrory, Bywater.

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