JOE Rothwell says the spirit of the Michael Appleton era has been rekindled at Oxford United under caretaker manager Derek Fazackerley.

The mood around the club has lifted considerably in the last week, helped by the dramatic comeback win at Charlton Athletic last weekend.

United are seeking to build on the momentum when Bristol Rovers visit tomorrow, with a crowd of about 9,000 expected at the Kassam Stadium.

Rothwell made his first appearance of 2018 at the Valley, having recovered from a hamstring injury.

After being substituted, he raced on to join in the celebrations after Ryan Ledson’s stoppage-time winner and compared the feeling around the game to the successes United he had experienced at the club last season.

“You could see how much it meant to everyone,” he said.

“Everyone’s together now trying to get behind Faz and you could see even the subs were running on to the pitch to celebrate as a team.

“It was probably the quickest I’d run all game.

“I think Faz has tried to go back to basics and the way Michael Appleton did it.

“The lads are buying into it. Everyone’s behind him and you could see on Saturday we got a positive result out of it.”

But the former Manchester United trainee knows there have been plenty of false dawns for United this season, which gives the meeting with Rovers added importance.

He said: “Too many times we’ve had a big win and followed it up with a poor result.

“I think it’s about time we got a bit of consistency.”

Along with Ledson and Simon Eastwood, Rothwell was linked with a move away from the U’s in the transfer window.

The 23-year-old has added uncertainty with his contract expiring this summer – an issue which he knows is unlikely to be decided until the club appoint a new permanent manager.

He said: “I wouldn’t think they would do anything without having a manager in place.

“I will just keep my head down and keep doing what I’ve been doing.

“It’s down to the club and my agent and I just try to get on with the games.”

  • ALEX Mowatt’s free-kick against Walsall has been nominated for the Sky Bet League One goal of the month.

Supporters can vote for the Oxford United midfielder’s strike by visiting before next Tuesday.