ALEX Gorrin believes it is no coincidence his performance levels have gone up since Oxford United tweaked their formation.

The summer signing has been a virtual ever-present in Sky Bet League One this season.

But after starting the campaign alongside Cameron Brannagan in a 4-2-3-1 set-up, a minor switch to 4-3-3 has made an impact for the Spaniard.

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Now tasked with a role as the sole midfielder sitting just in front of the back four, it may not be a major change but Gorrin is reaping the benefits.

He said: “I feel more comfortable in the position I’m playing now.

“I’m in front of a back four and that’s where I used to play last year (for Motherwell). Things are going well and I’m enjoying it.

“On my own I feel like I read it better.

“I can cover a lot of ground so I don’t feel like defensively I need someone next to me.

“I can do it by myself and can give more freedom to others to go and attack.”

The nature of the role puts a premium on positional sense and anticipating the danger before it arises.

That means when it is done well, it is easy to go unnoticed as more attack-minded players take the limelight.

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But that suits the 26-year-old just fine.

“As long as we win, I don’t mind,” he said.

“I have a very clear idea of what my job is – to get the ball back, win my headers and tackles and keep it simple.”

Gorrin’s importance to the team may have gone under the radar with many, but not head coach Karl Robinson.

He said: “People now see we’ve got a bit of an edge.

“I think Alex Gorrin has given us that.

“We’re very competitive in the middle of the pitch and that allows us to play the football we want to play.”

Gorrin’s increasing comfort has also shown in the way he has stayed out of the referee’s notebook.

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After collecting bookings in his first four games the midfielder was on course to trigger a suspension before the end of August.

But he has kept it clean in eight appearances since, although he still needs to avoid a caution for another seven Sky Bet League One games before the cut-off for five yellow cards.

And he is not alone – Rob Dickie, Cameron Brannagan, Jamie Mackie and Matty Taylor are in the same position with no margin for error.