WHILE there is no game for Oxford United this weekend, in the virtual universe they will embark on a cup adventure tonight.

In the absence of actual football, Leyton Orient stepped forward to organise an online FIFA tournament.

The idea, which has also raised more than £25,000 for charity, took off this week with 128 clubs signing up.

Also read: Oxford United planning is a daily job during coronavirus stoppage, says MD

Each have appointed a representative to play, with the first round set for this weekend.

In the hotseat for United is the manager of their esports team, Dom Wade.

The 30-year-old from Headington is a lifelong supporter and has been stunned by the response, which included a good luck message from winger Marcus Browne.

“That made my day to be honest,” Wade said.

“It’s so surreal.

“My phone hasn’t stopped pinging all week and I’ve had countless people messaging me with support.”

The draw on Tuesday night attracted a lot of interest, alhough United’s initial opponents have since pulled out.

Rather than taking on Danish side FC Nordsjælland, Wade’s opponent will now be from French top-flight club Lille.

Kick-off is at 7pm on Sunday, with the game screened live online at twitch.tv/oufcofficial.

Elsewhere in the draw are the likes of European giants Ajax, Roma and Olympique Marseille.

ARCHIVE: Oxford United's previous long waits between games

Esports is a rapidly growing industry and there have been talks about whether it could be incorporated in the 2024 Paris Olympics as a demonstration event.

And Wade believes with traditional sport in lockdown worldwide as a reaction to coronavirus concerns, this could be a big moment for esports.

He said: “I looked through the comments on the Leyton Orient feed and you could just see that people wanted to watch some kind of sport.

“It’s a massive opportunity for esports.

“The amount of interest I’ve had on my account and the Oxford United account has been phenomenal.”

The intention is to stream the games live online – and Wade admits the pre-match nerves are kicking in already.

He said: “Of course there’s a bit of pressure on my shoulders.

“But I deal with pressure three nights a week with my esports team, so I’m kind of used to it.”