OXFORD United will bid to catch Walsall cold this afternoon, according to Jack Payne.

The Saddlers have not been in action since New Year’s Day, with their fixture last weekend postponed by opponents Peterborough United’s FA Cup commitments.

United have played twice in that time, beating Blackpool in Sky Bet League One last weekend and knocking Charlton Athletic out of the Checkatrade Trophy in midweek.

Payne said: “They might try to say they’re fresher, but I don’t think that’s the case.

“We’re fit and recover well. We’ve got a lot of momentum behind us, so if anything that will only boost our chances.”

Walsall won 2-1 at the Kassam Stadium in September, where snuffing out Payne’s threat was a key part of their game plan.

But the Huddersfield Town loanee has switched from a central role to the left flank in recent weeks and is confident there will be no repeat today.

He said: “I remember it well, their captain, (Adam) Chambers, just sat on me and made it difficult.

“It wasn’t a great day for me or the team, but I think we’ve come a long way from there.

“We have a lot of different options and I’m playing in a different position, so maybe that will cause a different scenario.”

New signings Cameron Brannagan and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts are available and United will make a late call on the fitness of skipper John Mousinho (hamstring) and goalkeeper Simon Eastwood (shoulder).

Ricardinho is suspended, so Dwight Tiendalli is expected to deputise.

Walsall hope to have Tyler Roberts, who scored the winner against his old side, and Florent Cuvelier back from injury.


Walsall: from Gillespie, Kinsella, Guthrie, Edwards, Morris, Chambers, Cuvelier, Flanagan, Oztumer, Bakayoko, T Roberts, Agyei, Jackson, Kouhyar, K Roberts, Devlin, L Roberts.

Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Carroll, Martin, Mousinho, Tiendalli, Van Kessel, Ledson, Ruffels, Payne, Obika, Thomas, Mehmeti, Napa, Buckley-Ricketts, Brannagan, Henry, Xemi, Williamson, Raglan, Dickie, Shearer.