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Goal-scoring midfielders & a class keeper: 3 Oxford players to look out for today v Sunderland

Despite sitting in 21st position, the U’s were one of the best sides to visit the Stadium of Light this season. But, who are the players most likely to cause Sunderland damage in the return fixture?

Oxford Mail

Cameron Brannagan

League One Games/Goals: 20/2

The former Liverpool academy graduate is enjoying his first full season at the Kassam Stadium.

In joining Oxford last January he ended a 16-year association with the Merseyside club, and despite an initial injury setback, the midfielder has played the majority of The U’s games this term where he has shown excellent form. Capable of performing a number of duties across the middle of the park, he is good in possession and is a focal point to Karl Robinson’s side.

Far from the scrap heap at Liverpool, Brannagan actually played under Jürgen Klopp a total of eight times and was highly rated by the German who stated he had “everything you need”. But, a desire to play regular first team football at the age of 21 meant Brannagan requested to seek out opportunities elsewhere.

A loan spell at Fleetwood Town followed, but the 22-year-old Salford born midfielder has blossomed since finding a more permanent home in Oxfordshire.

James Henry

League One Games/Goals: 29/10

The U’s top scorer is enjoying a new role this season at Oxford after spending the majority of his time as an attacking midfielder since his move to the Kassam Stadium in the summer of 2017.

But has that stopped him from being as effective? Far from it - in fact, his goal tally is as good as ever.

With ten goals so far from midfield, not only Henry has thrived in a deeper role this term, but it has also allowed the likes of Cameron Branngan to have more freedom in the middle of the park as Henry uses his experience to guide the team.

He is a talent on the pitch, he is a leader, and is has often been the player that Oxford have looked at to drag them out of the difficult position they find themselves in this season - if anyone can win Oxford the three points on Saturday, it’s James Henry.

Simon Eastwood

League One Games/Clean-sheets: 19/5

Whilst we may boast the league’s best goalkeeper in Jon McLaughlin, the former Blackburn Rovers stopper can’t be far behind him.

Keeping thirteen clean sheets last term, his tally of only five so far in 2018/19 could indicate he’s having a poor season, but that would only tell half the story. In fact, Karl Robinson’s team could be even deeper in the mire if it wasn’t for some outstanding goalkeeping from the 29-year-old stopper.

His ability in between the posts was perhaps showcased best in October. Returning from a dislocated finger, his reintroduction to the team instantly helped Robinson’s team to climb the table after a disastrous start, as he conceded only once (from a penalty) in the entire month.

His form was rewarded with a nomination for the League One player of the month.

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