OXFORD United are considering taking a risk on Joe Rothwell’s fitness this weekend, but Curtis Nelson will definitely not be risked against Southend United.

Rothwell has been receiving treatment since limping out of Tuesday night’s defeat to Fleetwood Town.

The midfielder has been troubled by injuries to both hamstrings this season and it was the problem area again, although the latest issue was relatively minor.

And with United embroiled in a relegation battle with five games remaining in Sky Bet League One, head coach Karl Robinson suggested Rothwell could feature on Saturday.

He said: “There’s stiffness in that hamstring again, but we’re not saying there’s a tear in there. We’ll wait and see.

“Whereas in a different part of the season maybe you’d bring him out, I don’t think you can afford to rest your best players – even if they’re 80 per cent – at the moment.

“It’s wear your heart on your sleeve time.”

United will not be rolling the dice with Nelson, though.

Although the centre back played 80 minutes without any issues in a friendly game on Wednesday, it was his first action since November.

Given the severity of Nelson’s injury – a ruptured Achilles tendon – United want to see him in a second game next week before considering him for first-team action.

Robinson said: “We need to get him one more game.

“Even though you want to do things, it could cause problems down the road and you’ve got to be very careful.

“The likes of Joe are different, because the medium-term injuries are a lot easier to manage.

“Curtis has been a long-term injury and that’s more difficult to assess and get right.”