JOSH Ruffels is happy to put substance before style today if that is what it takes for Oxford United to claim a much-needed victory against Tranmere Rovers.

A run of one point from the last five Sky Bet League One games has seen Karl Robinson’s side slip to 20th in the table.

While they have played plenty of attractive football this season, especially at the Kassam Stadium, Ruffels knows the result is all that matters given their league form.

He said: “I don’t think style comes into it when you need to get a win as badly as we do.

“I think the fans know that as well. Three points is what really matters on Saturday.

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“Where we are at the moment is not good enough. We all know that.

“I think the game is huge for the season going forward and getting that momentum back.

“You don’t want to fall into that rut of losing every week and then you stop believing.

“Everyone still believes, but if you lose four or five on the bounce it really does affect you.

“On the other side, if we turn it round in two or three games you’re right back in it.

“That’s the way the league is. It’s a long season and everyone has a bad patch.”

The left back, from Kidlington, has even more reason than most of his teammates to be striving for an all-important result.

He was quick to put his hand up in the changing room last weekend, after losing out in a header to Peter Clarke which saw the U’s beaten 2-1 at Fleetwood Town.

Ruffels said: “It’s going to happen. I’m a defender and you’re going to make mistakes. It’s a disappointing one, but you have to bounce back.

“Obviously it hurts. It makes you play better and if you don’t want to improve from it you shouldn’t be in the game. I’ve been working hard to make that right.

“It can eat you up a little bit, but I think I’ve been playing long enough to deal with these sort of things.”

The small error, which proved very costly, summed up United’s struggles in recent games and putting it right has been the focus in the build-up.

“It’s the fine details we’re getting wrong,” Ruffels said. “That’s what we’re working on in training – the set pieces and second balls.

“It’s the nitty gritty stuff.”