HERBIE Kane said Oxford United’s fringe players have ‘sent a statement’ to boss Karl Robinson after stepping in while regular starters were out with Covid.

The likes of Billy Bodin, Marcus McGuane and in particular, Jamie Hanson, got minutes under their belts against Fleetwood Town and Rotherham United, and Kane said the U’s have had to show a different side to their game.

He said: “We’ve had to adapt to the circumstances in the squad but we’ve done well.

“We’ve ridden that wave and looking forward to the games coming up.

See also: Robinson ‘confident’ Kane will stay beyond January

“We showed a different side to the game that maybe teams in this league didn’t know we could do, so it was good to put out a statement and there’s some tough games coming up.

“The players that played have done well and put a statement out to the gaffer and coaching staff – we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Attention turns to the trip to Sunderland, and Kane is relishing the challenge of playing against one of the bigger sides in Sky Bet League One.

He said: “It’s going to be a tough game, I’m looking forward to it personally.

“It’s going to be a good game, a good crowd hopefully – I love these games with the big crowd.”