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JAKE Forster-Caskey has credited the loan stint at Oxford United last season as key to his progress into a first-team regular at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The 19-year-old has started 17 games for the Championship side this term, including Monday night’s FA Cup fifth round replay at Hull City.

Forster-Caskey had only a handful of senior appearances under his belt when he joined the U’s on loan for the first half of last season.

The elegant midfielder, who is the step-son of former Brighton skipper Nicky Forster, went on to play 20 games, scoring three goals.

And he believes the benefits of dropping two divisions to get regular football are being reaped now.

“I thought (Oxford) would be beneficial for me to go out, play games and see what it was like to play consecutive games in a really tough league,” he told The Argus.

“I needed that from a personal point of view, because I wanted to prove to people I can play week in and week out.

“Now that I am playing more games, I think it obviously worked and the plan was right.”