LIAM Kelly knows Oxford United have a winning formula – they just have to stick to the game plan when Sunderland visit today.

Converting a dominance in possession into goals is the main area of improvement highlighted by both sides so far in the fledgling campaign.

A first Sky Bet League One success of the season, against a side fancied to mount a promotion challenge, would be just the ticket.

And Kelly, who was part of the U’s side which reached the play-off final in July, pointed to an approach which has yielded positive results.

He said: “We’ve just got to trust our game plan for the 90 minutes.

“We know it works from last season and we know we have good players in forward areas.

“Matty Taylor only needs one chance and we know 99 per cent of the time he’ll score.

“We probably dominated the last two games, but that’s football, you can dominate games but we haven’t had that killer instinct in the final third to score.”

For the last two seasons the Black Cats’ visit has created an excellent atmosphere at the Kassam Stadium.

But coronavirus restrictions will mean the contest is played behind closed doors.

“Football without fans is not really football,” Kelly said.

“You grow up as a kid wanting to play in front of thousands of fans.

“When you do it for so long and it’s taken away it is strange, but it’s how the world is at the moment.

“Since I’ve been at Oxford, looking back at the Newcastle game and how much the fans get behind us it’s really special.

“There’s a few teams getting fans back and Oxford are hopefully going to get some back in a couple of weeks.

“That’s something to look forward to.”

Today’s visitors have been tipped to go up for the last two seasons, but lost in the 2018/19 play-off final and finished eighth when last term’s table was decided on points per game.

Despite the lack of a crowd, taking on Sunderland adds something to the game for the Feyenoord loanee.

Kelly said: “Definitely, because you know they’re a strong team and they are the games you look forward to.

“It’s a very strong league and there will be a lot of teams that are going to be up there wanting to get promoted.

“Sunderland have been in this league a long time and they will be desperate to get back up.

“It’s one of those teams where if you finish above them you’re probably going to be promoted at the end of the season.”