Crocked midfielder Ivo Pekalski is on the comeback trail after making his first couple of appearances since injuring his knee a week after joining the club last summer.
The Swedish international played an hour in a behind-closed-doors friendly against QPR last week before playing 72 minutes against Oxford City in Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Court Place Farm in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup semi-final on Tuesday.
The delighted 27-year-old said after the 2-2 draw with QPR: “I was happy about returning to the pitch. After being out for six and a half months it was a big step.
“You can do things in the gym but you never [beat] the feeling as the game. I’m happy about it and I just want to keep on working.”
Pekalski is hopeful of making a first team appearance before the end of the season, although the club want him to get more minutes under his belt before he is considered for the first team.
But the Swede is refusing to set timelines.
He said: “It’s very important to do this step-by-step. I’m happy for now but it will take time to get into top shape.
“It’s only by day-by-day work. I would love to say ‘this day I’m there’ but it’s a process.”
Also making their comebacks in the last couple of weeks were Mike Williamson and Cameron Brannagan.
First teamers Canice Carroll and Malachi Napa also featured alongside the youngsters on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, promising young goalkeeper Jack Stevens has signed a new deal to keep him at the U’s until at least the summer of 2019.
The 20-year-old stopper has enjoyed a memorable season, starring on loan at Oxford City in their FA Cup run before winning rave reviews since joining Tamworth in January.
Stevens said he was “more than happy to sign a new deal”, adding: “The club has been fantastic and I want to push on from here and try to earn more chances in the first team squad if I can.”
n United travel to 19th-placed AFC Wimbledon in a massive game on Saturday and are next in action at Grenoble Road against Peterborough United on March 17.