DES Buckingham says he will resist the temptation to throw in Jay Matete and Will Goodwin from the start, as he looks to build up their minutes first.

Both players arrived at Oxford United during the January transfer window, and have made three substitute appearances between them since joining.

Matete, on loan from Sunderland, played the final couple of minutes at home to Reading, before adding a further 13 minutes at Blackpool.

The 23-year-old hadn’t played for his parent club this season, after suffering a knee injury during pre-season, ruling him out for five months.

Goodwin meanwhile has had to nurse a quad problem for the first four games of his U’s career, after signing from Cheltenham Town, but played the final half an hour against Blackpool.

READ ALSO: Our player ratings after Oxford United draw at Blackpool

Asked how close the duo are to making their first United starts, head coach Buckingham said: “It’s the same with everybody. We’d like to have everyone fit and firing for 90 minutes, but we’ve got a lot back in over the last week into full training.

“Some we’ve had to manage minutes of, and that’ll be the case over the next two or three games.

“There’s a real temptation to throw these players in from the start and play them for 90 minutes, but we’ve seen that if you get that wrong, you can lose them for a period of time, and that could have a massive impact on what we do.

“We’ve got a capable squad, but we’ve got to be very smart with the minutes we give to players while we build them up.”

In addition to Goodwin, the U’s were also able to welcome back Jamie Cumming, Sam Long, Billy Bodin and Josh Murphy for the trip to Blackpool, providing competition in the squad which Buckingham has rarely had since taking over as head coach on November 16.

He said: “You have to be fair on performances individually, but you also have to pick the team which you think is the right one for each game.

“Whether it’s Blackpool away or Wigan at home, there are areas that we see other players might give us an advantage in.”

Witney Gazette:

Previewing tonight’s clash at home to Wigan Athletic, Buckingham said: “I expect a good game. In the most recent games they’ve played, they’ve picked up some results, and even in the games they’ve lost, it’s been by one goal.

“We’re expecting a very tough game, but we need to start winning games and putting ourselves back into good contention and higher up the league.”

The Latics have battled off the field problems under the guidance of Shaun Maloney, and if not for having eight points deducted, his side would be seven points behind United.

Buckingham said: “I think he’s done a wonderful job, but I also think sometimes when there are things going on externally, that can help galvanise a group.

“They’re one example of other teams in the Football League where you see that, and you see a real togetherness, a fight for each other and a real desire to go and put in performances.”