SAM Long is enjoying the best spell of his

career but admits there is a problem – the end of the season is coming too soon.

The full back is poised to start his tenth game in a row for Oxford United today when Charlton Athletic visit in the lunchtime kick-off (1).

And Long is in line to make his 50th appearance for the club at Shrewsbury Town on Easter Monday, almost six years after his debut.

It has not been an easy ride at times, but the 24-year-old, from Bicester, is relishing the moment.

He said: “I would obviously want to turn that into 100, 150, 200 games.

“I’m really enjoying my football at the moment and it must be showing.

“I’ve had some terrible luck with injuries and I’m just thankful, touch wood, I’m passed that now and I can concentrate on playing football rather than staying fit.

“I don’t take it for granted at all.

“I’m glad to be back in the side now and I wish it (the season) could go on a little bit longer.”

The games may be running out, but today’s clash will provide a stern test.

Charlton still have aspirations of gatecrashing the automatic promotion places and have won six of their last seven matches.

United are unbeaten in six, though, and in the second half of the season have done well at home to the division’s top sides.

Portsmouth were beaten 2-1, while they secured draws against Sunderland and Barnsley.

Long said: “On form you can’t write us off at all.

“We said from day one we had a good side but we just didn’t know why it wasn’t going right.

“Recently it’s clicked and we’ve been getting good results.

“I feel like on any given day, especially at the moment, we can beat any team in the league.

“Over the course of the season we’ve done well against the top sides.“We’ll be going into the game looking to put in another good performance against a top-six side.”

Marcus Browne remains suspended, but Ahmed Kashi is available to face his former side after serving a one-game ban.

Gavin Whyte (hamstring) may only be fit enough for the

bench, which could see Jordan Graham promoted to the starting line-up.

Charlton have no fitness worries, but the game will come too soon for Lewis Page and Jake Forster-Caskey, who are back in training after long-term injuries.


Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Long, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels, Kashi, Brannagan, Graham, Sykes, Garbutt, Sinclair, Mackie, Whyte, Henry, Napa, Carruthers, Mousinho, Hanson, Stevens.

Charlton Ath: from Phillips, Solly, Sarr, Bauer, Purrington, Cullen, Bielik, Aribo, Williams, Taylor, Vetokele, Parker, Lapslie, Pratley, Reeves, Dijksteel, Pearce, Maxwell.