SAM Long feels his Sky Bet League One player of the month nomination reflects the work he put in when he was injured.

The Oxford United right back has been shortlisted for the April prize after scoring three times in six appearances.

He is up against Blackpool centre back Dan Ballard, Hull City striker Josh Magennis and Burton Albion midfielder Joe Powell for the award.

Long's achievement is even more impressive after he missed most of March with a hamstring injury.

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The 26-year-old returned for the Easter Monday defeat to Accrington Stanley and slotted seamlessly into the U's back four, helping them claim 12 points in April to stay in the play-off race.

And he feels his efforts during his injury absence have paid off.

Long said: “It shows how hard I worked in the gym while I was injured to keep myself at the level to come straight back and perform the way I have.

"In the first couple of games I was able to come off a little bit early.

"Because we’ve got so many games, to get that extra half an hour or 15 minutes to go again has definitely helped.

"I’m really proud to say I’ve been nominated, if you look at the players in there they’ve all done well."

The highlight of Long's month was United's 3-2 win over Gillingham on April 17, when he scored two late goals, the second in stoppage-time, to secure an incredible victory.

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The academy product was also on target in the 4-1 triumph over Shrewsbury Town four days earlier, which came 24 hours after he signed a new three-year contract.

Asked if that was his best week at the club, Long said: “I would easily say so.

"I signed my contract, scored against Shrewsbury and scored the two at the weekend.

"As weeks go, they don’t get much better than that.”