Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Billy Bodin, Rob Atkinson and More

Rob Atkinson

Transfer news is hotting-up and it’s been another busy week at Oxford United. The U’s have made their third signing of the summer but have seen key defender Rob Atkinson depart to a Championship club. Elsewhere, a former winger has been linked with a return and there has been some significant contract updates.

Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Billy Bodin, Rob Atkinson and Gavin Whyte

Billy Bodin Becomes Third Summer Signing

Oxford United made their third summer signing on Wednesday as Billy Bodin penned a one-year deal.

The forward, who can play both centrally and on either side, has had an injury-hit three-and-a-half-years at Preston North End but has still impressed during his time at Deepdale.

The 29-year-old also performed well at Bristol Rovers alongside U’s striker Matty Taylor, where he added 37 goals in 107 outings.

Further Backroom Additions

Additional news on Wednesday came in the shape of more changes in the backroom setup. Last week, the club announced new appointments behind the scenes while this week, Chris Neville and Harry Routledge have also joined the staff.

Neville, the club’s new Director of Performance, has previously worked with the England men’s side for four years on top of time at Portsmouth while they were in the Premier League. Routledge, who worked at Watford while the Hornets were in the top flight, has been appointed as Head of Sports Science.

Contract Renewals for U’s Youngsters

This week, Oxford have seen Tyler Goodrham and Leon Chambers-Parillon sign their first professional contracts.

Goodrham, who turns 18 in August, and 19-year-old Chambers-Parillon, have both penned a one-year deal with an option of an additional year.

Goodrham became the club’s youngest ever player in November 2019 but that record was broken last season by Gatlin O’Donkor. The midfielder was unable to add to the one senior appearance due to injury.

Meanwhile, Chambers-Parillon has impressed during his five first-team displays. Like Goodrham, the midfielder has also struggled with injury but did manage three League One outings last season.

Rob Atkinson Valuation Met by Bristol City

Last week, it was reported that Bristol City had offered £1.4 million for defender Rob Atkinson, but it was believed that the bid had been rejected. However, it has since been reported that the Robins have met the club’s valuation for the 22-year-old.

If met, the figure would exceed what Oxford sold Rob Dickie to Queens Park Rangers just 12 months previous.

Atkinson only made his U’s debut at the start of the season despite signing from Eastleigh six months earlier. However, the defender made a huge impression at the club, turning out 44 times and being named in the League One Team of the Year.

Return for Gavin Whyte?

Friday brought news of a potential return for former winger, Gavin Whyte, according to Sunday Mirror Sports Editor, Darren Witcoop.

Whyte joined the club in 2018 from Northern Ireland outfit Crusaders and had an impressive debut season in England, scoring nine times and adding seven assists from 47 appearances.

It prompted a big-money move to Championship club Cardiff City, where the Northern Ireland international has managed just two goal contributions from 37 outings.

Last season, Whyte also spent time at Hull City and the newly-promoted Tigers are another club that are keen to bring the 25-year-old back for a second spell.

Forde Pens One-Year Extension

Anthony Forde has become the latest first-team player to sign a contract extension. The versatile midfielder was out of contract but has extended his stay at Grenoble Road by an additional year.

The 27-year-old, who joined the U’s from Rotherham United in 2019, has struggled with injuries during his time at the club, but still managed 75 appearances for Karl Robinson’s side.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, he said: “Over the summer, I’ve gone back home and we’ve sorted out a few little things. There were no problems really, it was very straightforward.

“I’ve loved it here since I signed and I wanted to continue that. We’ve done really well the last two years and with better starts, we could have done even better.

“It’s an amazing group here, the staff, the players, everyone. They’ve been brilliant since I’ve signed and it’s a great environment to work in.

“I’m just delighted it’s done and I can crack on and focus on the season.”

Rob Atkinson Joins the Robins

Just two days after Bristol City met Oxford’s valuation for defender Rob Atkinson, the 22-year-old made the switch to the Championship club.

It’s been a remarkable rise through the leagues from the young defender, who only joined the U’s from non-league Eastleigh in January 2020.

He told Robins TV: “I’m excited and looking forward to playing in the Championship. It’s another step up and I’ve done plenty of those in my career. I’ll be attacking it the same as I always have – that’s head on, working hard and hopefully it will go just as well as my previous step-ups.”

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Images