Joe Skarz doubtful for Oxford
Oxford boss Michael Appleton has rated the chances of defender Joe Skarz returning against Northampton as "50-50".
Skarz has been struggling with a back injury and Appleton may be hesitant to risk the 27-year-old for their Boxing Day clash at the Kassam Stadium.
But Appleton confirmed on the club's official website that long-term absentees Christian Ribeiro (ankle), Sam Long (knee) and Liam Sercombe (knee) are ahead of schedule and could return to training in the new year.
The Us are looking to extend their unbeaten league streak to six games.
Defender Zander Diamond remains a doubt for Northampton.
The 31-year-old is still recovering from a broken cheekbone while defender Brendan Moloney is also missing with a knee injury.
Cobblers boss Rob Page will make a late decision on the fitness of JJ Hooper who has missed their last few games with a thigh problem.
Marc Richards is pushing for a start after being dropped for their home defeat against Rochdale.