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Oxford United - Yellow Army

Started on 6 November 2019 by LFC
Latest Reply on 8 November 2019 by TheLFCFan
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Signal of intent from Robinson as Brannagan signs new deal

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson has laid bare his expectations for the forthcoming Sky Bet League One campaign after star midfielder Cameron Brannagan signed a two-year contract extension earlier today - a deal which includes a £2.8m release clause should Oxford fail to secure promotion to the Championship.

The former Liverpool U23s captain, who made his professional debut under Jurgen Klopp as a substitute in The Reds' 1-1 draw with Bordeaux in the Europa League back in 2015, signed for Oxford in January 2018 and has earned widespread praise for his performances, even winning the club's Players' Player of the Year award at the end of last season.

Manager Karl Robinson has stressed the importance of Brannagan to the squad after the new deal was signed earlier today and believes that the 23-year-old could play at a higher level, with the non-promotion release clause indicative of Robinson's ambitions for the season.

"Cam's a great lad to have around the club, he puts in a great shift every day in training and just oozes class when he's out on the pitch.

We're delighted to have him around for a little while longer because I do feel like he's good enough for the Championship right now so for us to tie him down to another year is huge.

We believe that we've got a squad strong enough to help him get to the Championship for next season so we'll try to deliver on that and see how we get on."

One of the new faces at Oxford this transfer window is Brannagan's former Liverpool teammate and current Wales international Ben Woodburn - the two will even share a house for the coming year until Woodburn's loan contract ends.

Woodburn is one of eight new signings for The U's this summer as they look to strengthen their squad for a potential promotion battle, alongside former Charlton winger Tarique Fosu, Motherwell's
industrious midfielder Alex Gorrin, and towering 6 ft 5 defender Elliot Moore (signed from Leicester for £250,000).

Returning local boy Matty Taylor (infamous for his switch from Bristol Rovers to fierce rivals Bristol City) also returns to his boyhood club on loan with a point to prove up front, young Burnley striker Dan Agyei, Rotherham's Irish winger Anthony Forde, one-time Scotland internation Chris Cadden on loan from MLS side Columbus Crew and Derby County's George Thorne, who is currently sidelined with a calf strain and will miss the season opener at Sunderland.
A youngster I liked a lot at Liverpool. Hopefully he will be able to continue to deliver the goods having signed a new contract. Good Luck with this mate!

McDonald joins Yellows from Hearts

Oxford United are pleased to announce the signing of Hearts winger Anthony McDonald for a fee of £50,000.

The 18-year-old, who plays on the right flank, joined up with his new teammates in training today for the first time following his move from Tynecastle Park.

Karl Robinson speaks with OUFC writer Andy Williams about the signing:

"We scouted Anthony for a while before we finalised this deal and I think we've got a good player here. He's got pace, directness and technique which is exactly what we're looking for from a player in his position.

He's got a number of senior players ahead of him in his role so it's more than likely he'll go out on loan for a few months so we can evaluate him, but if he impresses in training then the place is up for grabs."

The signing means that McDonald's loan from Hearts to Dunfermiline Athletic for the 2019/20 season has been cancelled so that the player can make the switch to England immediately.

McDonald had this to say about the move:

"It's a big step for me moving to England, the standard of football here is quality but I know I've got it in me to make it down here.

I'm not expecting any regular first team action for a while yet, my plan is to get my head down and work hard in training and see if I can impress the gaffer.

We've talked about a potential loan to League Two or somewhere like that and it's something I can definitely get on board with, although my preference would be to stay and fight for a place in the team because I know I've got it in me.

There's some class players in my position in this squad like Jamo (James Henry) and Rob Hall so it's going to be difficult but if I get a chance then I'll do my best to make it count."

McDonald becomes the third player signed from the Scottish Premier League this season, with Alex Gorrin and Chris Cadden signing from Motherwell earlier in the window.

Welcome back to story writing, mate. Looking forward to this! Brannagan is a player who is far too good for League One in my estimations and therefore it's only natural for a release clause to be included within that new deal, which in itself is an excellent way of showing the ambition the club has for the forthcoming season. Anthony McDonald is another player I'm somewhat familiar with, coming through a blossoming youth academy at Hearts alongside a lot of other talented players in the last couple of seasons. He has the ability to develop into a class act if given the time to develop. A loan move sounds the perfect plan to do that.
Welcome back on the section, firstly! McDonald comes from a club with a good reputation of producing British youngsters so I'm interesting to see what he's like at the O's!

Sky Bet League One - Pre-season recap - Oxford United

Karl Robinson's Oxford United side have completed their scheduled pre-season friendlies and now look to evaluate their squad ahead of the season opener at Sunderland on Friday evening - live only on Sky Sports.

Oxford United 7-1 Oxford United U18s
James Henry (14, Pen 18), Alex Gorrin (31), Tarique Fosu (50), Chris Cadden (65, 84), Jamie Mackie (86)
Fábio Lopes (73)
Alex Gorrín (CM/CDM), 9.1

Oxford United 0-2 Barnsley
Malik Wilks (20), Alex Mowatt (63)
Alex Mowatt, 8.3

Thame United 0-1 Oxford United
Jamie Hanson (9)
Jamie Hanson (RB/CDM/CM), 9.0

Oxford United 1-2 Derby County
Matty Taylor (50)
Florian Jozefzoon (5), Kieran Dowell (63)
Kieran Dowell, 8.3

Truro City 0-1 Oxford United
Sam Long (55)
Sam Long (RB/CB), 7.5

Didcot 0-4 Oxford United
Rob Hall (22, Pen 44, Pen 66), Anthony Forde (39)
Rob Hall (AML/AMR), 9.7

Star of Pre-Season?

Several players stood out for Oxford United in pre-season, particularly new signing Alex Gorrín who joined from Motherwell in the summer and U's mainstay James Henry, but the hat-trick scored by 25-year-old winger Rob Hall in the final game edges him ahead.

The former West Ham and Bolton attacker has suffered miserably through injuries over the past couple of seasons so Robinson and the fans will be hoping for an injury-free campaign for the local man.

Robinson, speaking to Sky Sports, said: "Rob is a great lad and he's been really unfortunate with his fitness, but he's worked hard to get back to where he is and I can't fault him.

After missing most of last season, his contract was up this summer but his desire to stay at the club he loves and fight for a place is so high that he was the one to suggest a pay cut following on from the injuries and that's the sign of a player totally committed to a club."
No surprises in pre-season; everyone who you should have beaten, you did and vice versa. Hopefully Rob Hall can have an enjoyable season after a tough twelve months or so.

Shandon Baptiste - Star In The Making?

Oxford United's Shandon Baptiste has the talent and desire to go all the way to the top of the English game according to his international manager Andrew Munroe.

The 21-year-old missed the majority of Oxford's last campaign through injury but began to show real signs of his talent prior to rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament - even captaining his side at the age of 20 against Premier League champions Manchester City in a 3-0 loss in the Carabao Cup last year.

Baptiste, a full Grenada international with three caps to date, has drawn the attention of several high profile scouts during his relatively short career to date but for now is firmly focusing his attentions on having a successful season with his current club.

"This club has done a lot for me, they've backed me and supported me through really difficult times with my injuries last year and I've got a lot of friends here at the club.

Myself, Malachi (Napa) and Robbie Hall spent a lot of time together last season recovering from our respective injuries so we've all got quite a close bond and that extends to the rest of the team too.

The fans here are great and I still can't quite believe that I got to lead the team out against City last year. We've got big ambitions for this season so I hope the fans come out in their numbers to support us."

Baptiste can play anywhere in the midfield but his energy suits him best to the typical box-to-box midfield role, which is where he been mostly utilized by both Karl Robinson at United and Munroe in the Grenada setup.

Munroe spoke highly of the former Reading prospect who he believes has a big future in English football:

"Shandon is a big talent, no question. I fully expect him to be playing in the Premier League within the next couple of seasons because I know he's got the skill to do it and he's a very determined player. Watch this space."

Baptiste is expected to be fit for Oxford's season opener at the Stadium of Light.

His ability is clear to see. One to watch for the season? I think so.

Sky Bet League One - August 2019 Recap - Oxford United

Karl Robinson's Oxford United kicked off their Sky Bet League One campaign this month, starting with a trip to Sunderland. Catch up with all the action here including their Carabao Cup First Round tie against local rivals Reading.

FEATURED MATCH - Sunderland vs Oxford, Stadium of Light - Attendance, 28,714.

James Henry netted a first half hat-trick as Oxford started their league campaign with a 4-2 win away at Sunderland.

Sunderland 2-4 Oxford United
Will Grigg (31), Luke O'Nien (69)
James Henry (15, 19, Pen 38), Jamie Mackie (62)
James Henry (AMR,MC), 9.5

The Oxford United squad and their 697 travelling fans made the long trip to the North East to face a Sunderland side who narrowly missed out on promotion last season via the playoffs.

New signings Ben Woodburn, Matty Taylor, Elliot Moore and a surprise inclusion of 18-year-old winger Anthony McDonald in a more central attacking role all started the match but it was an established member of the squad that stole the headlines in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

James Henry netted a first half hat-trick to put The U's in control against a disappointing Sunderland side. His first goal came after just fifteen minutes with the right winger tapping in at the far post after a tantalizing cross from youngster Shandon Baptiste caught three Sunderland defenders out and Henry couldn't miss after a perfect ball in.

Just four minutes later, Henry added another after Wales international Ben Woodburn picked the ball up on the left side of the penalty area before standing up a brilliant cross towards the back post where the 30-year-old powered a header past towering keeper Jon McLaughlin.

Sunderland pulled one back just after the half hour mark when Lynden Gooch's low cross found £5m striker Will Grigg, who got in front of Oxford left back Josh Ruffels to turn the ball home.

But parity was restored before half time when Oxford captain John Mousinho was hauled down in the box by Sunderland's Max Power following Henry's free-kick. Henry then stepped up to take the resulting penalty, and he tucked it right into the bottom corner, just out of reach of McLaughlin.

Matty Taylor, returning to his boyhood club on loan from Bristol City, failed to make an impact in front of goal on his first game back in yellow and blue, and was replaced by 33-year-old former Queens Park Rangers striker Jamie Mackie after half time.

Mackie was the last name on the scoresheet for United, too, after Ruffels' cross found him at the near post and he squeezed a head in from a tight angle.

There was time for a consolation goal from Sunderland's Luke O'Nien but it was a poor display from The Black Cats in their first game under new boss Phil Parkinson.

Oxford United 2-2 Peterborough United
Matty Taylor (17), Rob Hall (60)
Harry Charsley (36), Dan Butler (57)
Dan Butler, 8.6

Carabao Cup 1st Round vs Reading (A)

Reading 4-0 Oxford United
Pelé (9, 73), Lucas Joao (78), Ovie Ejaria (88)
Pelé, 9.4

Blackpool 0-0 Oxford United
Alex Gorrín (CM,CDM), 7.4

Oxford United 2-0 Burton Albion
Ben Woodburn (70), Matty Taylor (89)
Ben Woodburn (AML,AMC,ST), 8.1

N.B. This match marked Matty Taylor's 100th league goal in professional football.

Bristol Rovers 1-0 Oxford United
Tyler Smith (88)
Cameron Brannagan (CM), 7.1

Oxford United 1-1 Coventry City
Ben Woodburn (41)
Liam Walsh (3)
Ben Woodburn (AML,AMC,ST), 7.6

League Table after 31/8/19

Looks like some decent youngster you've managed to bring in bud and a decent start to the season.
Solid start here, good luck!

Robinson Reflects - August 2019

Well, it's that time of year again. Our 2019/20 campaign kicked off this month, and that means you lucky fans get to read my monthly notes on how I feel we've been doing.

Firstly I'd just like to say a huge thank you to the fans for turning up to see us this month, your support last season through our successful relegation battle (a position that admittedly we should never have been in - but we turned it around!) was massive for the players and it's good to see that continue into this season.

This season things feel a lot different round here, we've said farewell to a few of the players from last season with Curtis Nelson and Gavin Whyte in particular moving on to Cardiff in the Championship, and also a few of the lads we had on loan here last term moving back or moving on like Marcus Browne heading up a division to Middlesbrough.

But we've also had a great window in terms of bringing quality players into the club while keeping the majority of the squad from last season too, so we're in a good place.

We've got some real leaders within that squad - Mous (John Mousinho, club captain), Jamie Mackie, Cam Brannagan, to name a few, all completely devoted to this club. Jamie in particular I'd like to give a special mention to. At 33, he's one of the most hard working players you'll see at this level and he runs himself into the ground to make himself a nuisance for the opposition defenders.

Obviously he's not able to do that every week for 90 minutes at his age so we're delighted to have been able to bring Matty Taylor and Dan Agyei in. Matty will more than likely start the majority of games, as you've seen with the league games this month, and Jamie's aware of this and very happy to be considered as my super sub - which made it all the more pleasing for everyone in this team when Jamie bagged the last goal against Sunderland.

Speaking of Sunderland, what terrific support we had for our boys - 700 fans making a near 12 hour round trip on a Friday night is superb and I'm glad that we managed to send them home smiling with the 4-2 win.

James Henry was absolutely ruthless in front of goal in that game and he gave the Sunderland defenders nightmares - some top quality defenders too I must add.

We haven't quite reached the highs of that win yet with a couple of disappointing home draws and the late heartbreak in Bristol, and the less said about the Reading game in the cup, the better. We experimented a bit with the lineup but it backfired massively. I have to hold my hands up and say I got the tactics completely wrong on the night.

Shandon's been working extra hard in training since his red card in that tie and we're expecting big things from him this year.

He may only be 21 but the sky really is the limit for someone with his capabilities. Likewise we hope there's chance for a few of the other young lads to make the step up from the youth team - Aaron Heap is really impressing me, spending a month on loan with Wealdstone and performing like an experienced player. I wasn't the only one impressed either - everyone at the club is so proud of Aaron for getting called up to the Northern Ireland U21 squad this month, and also Slavi Spasov with the Bulgarian U21s.

Our latest signing Anthony McDonald has also been drafted into the Scotland U19's side, which is brilliant for him. He's been hugely impressive in training and that's resulted in us giving him a run in the first team squad this month, which I wasn't expecting to happen.

The plan was to loan him out but he's held his own against some good sides, playing in an unfamiliar position too in the more central role. We're expecting big things from him but we'll take things one step at a time. We don't want to rush him.

But anyway, it's been a decent start to the season - we're lurking just outside the playoffs which is where we want to be come May. As long as the fans keep turning out in their numbers and believe in us, there's no reason why we can't be in the Championship this time next year.

Karl Robinson,
Oxford United Head Coach
A decent start to the season considering some of the opposition. An excellent opening result against Sunderland, especially. Matty Taylor will be a key player to any success this season. His record in-front of goal highlights his ability perfectly. With Robinson at the wheel, Oxford could be onto a winner!
Looking a more positive season than last already. Bordering on the playoffs is certainly a good start and hopefully in the coming months you can push on.

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