Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: League Stalemate, International Call-Ups and Stadium Update

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Oxford United ended another busy week with a dramatic draw at home against promotion rivals Ipswich Town.

Elsewhere, the club have received several international call-ups, meaning their League One match at Morecambe has been postponed, while there has been significant developments on the hunt for a site for a new stadium.

Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Draw Against Promotion Rival and International Call-Ups

Oxford United Pair Called Up for International Matches

On-loan Cardiff City duo Gavin Whyte and Ciaron Brown have been called up to the Northern Ireland squad for international friendlies against Luxembourg and Hungary.

It means the pair will miss Oxford’s visit to Morecambe at the end of the month, although it is likely the game could be called off due to international call-ups. (Read on!)

Stadium Update

Councillors have allowed Oxford United to continue their discussions over a new stadium at the site on Stratfield Brake.

On Tuesday, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet authorised officers to begin detailed talks with the club about securing a 250-year lease.

The club released the following statement: “Oxford United are absolutely delighted that Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet has agreed with their officers’ recommendation to proceed with negotiation regarding our proposal to lease land at Stratfield Brake.

“We wholeheartedly welcome their decision and thank them for their considered approach in assessing our proposal and understanding the vital need to safeguard our club’s future within Oxfordshire.

“As demonstrated in the recent consultation, there is wide-spread and significant support for our new stadium project, from local residents, fans and stakeholders throughout the Oxfordshire community

“Whilst the decision today remains the first stage of the process, it is a historic one, an important step forward to enable us to progress to the pre-planning stage.

“We look forward to negotiating with officers to agree the finalised terms of the deal and as part of the pre-planning process, working with the local community to answer many of the valid issues that were raised as part of the consultation. We will provide a further update on our intended approach forward in due course.”

Further International Selection

Deadline day signing Oisin Smyth became the third player from the club to be called up to international duty.

The 21-year-old will be hoping to feature for the Northern Ireland U21 side face Slovakia in an U21 European Championship qualifier before playing France in an international challenge match.

Smyth, who is yet to make an appearance for the U’s since his January arrival, has featured seven times for his country.

Morecambe Trip Postponed Following Another International Call-Up

Oxford’s visit to Morecambe at the end of the month has now been postponed following a first call up to the Republic of Ireland side for Mark Sykes.

The midfielder, who switched allegiances in August 2020, turned out 11 times for Northern Ireland at U21 level but failed to make a senior appearance, despite call ups to the senior side.

Sykes will be hoping to impress when Stephen Kenny’s side face Belgium and Lithuania in friendly matches.

It now means that the visit to Lancashire will take place on Tuesday, April 5, just three days after another away day at promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle.

Robinson Issues Update on Ownership

Amidst developments of a potential new stadium, U’s boss Karl Robinson has given an update on the club’s ownership.

It was a year ago this week when news emerged of an Indonesian consortium majority takeover, with the change of ownership subject to EFL approval.

Directors Anindya Bakrie and Horst Geicke, and former board member Erick Thohir are all believed to be part of the consortium, which would see current owner and chairman Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth take a step down.

But Robinson is in constant contact with those in Asia and insists patience is important. Speaking to the Oxford Mail, he said: “Their input has been incredible and there’s a number of components of that.

“When people talk about ‘new owners’, it’s the same owners and just a shift in percentages.

“That’s all it’s ever been, but everyone seems to want to make a story about it.”

Draw Against Promotion Rivals for Oxford United

Oxford ended the week with a last-minute equaliser against promotion rivals Ipswich Town.

The Tractor Boys headed into the game unbeaten in nine while keeping eight clean sheets in the process. However, the U’s could have been two or three goals up by the break if they had their shooting boots on.

The hosts were made to pay when Ipswich struck during the second half but a Luke McNally header four minutes into stoppage time earned the U’s a deserved point.

The result sees Robinson’s side drop one place to fifth but it could be an important point come the end of the season.

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