Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Contract Extensions, Leeds United Loanee and Cambridge United Success

Oxford United

It was an extremely positive week for Oxford United as they claimed their first points of the new League One season.

Also this week, three players committed their future to the club while they also brought in an exciting youngster from Leeds United.

Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: First Points of the Season, New Deals and Another Signing

Henry Pens Two-Year Deal

Oxford’s veteran midfielder James Henry has signed a new two-year deal with the club.

The 33-year-old has been ever-present since his arrival from Bolton Wanderers in 2017 and he currently stands as the club’s 12 highest goal scorer with 54 from 215 appearances.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Henry said: “There’s a board at the training ground with the list of top scorers on and I am so proud to see my name on it.

“The aim is to keep adding to that total but also to get this club to where we all want to go.

“It’s almost unrecognisable from the club I joined five years ago. The new training ground is fantastic, the standards we have set in everything we do are of the highest standards, and we want to keep improving and keep building on what we have done so far.”

Robinson added: “He is an outstanding player and an outstanding human being. He has done so much for this club and been one of the most influential players ever since I first came here.

“He is still very fit, still makes a massive contribution in every game and it’s great to have him here and to see him commit his future to the club.”

Youngster Signs First Professional Oxford United Contract

Oxford youngster Gatlin O’Donkor has signed his first professional contract with the club.

The 17-year-old, who became the club’s youngest player when he played against Forest Green Rovers in December 2020, put pen to paper on a two-year deal, with the option of an additional 12 months.

The young forward has excelled for the youth team and made his senior debut against Doncaster Rovers in the final game of last season. He was also named on the bench as Oxford lost at Derby County in their League One opener last weekend.

That was an amazing experience,” he told the club’s official website.

“Obviously, making my senior debut last season was a very proud moment, but to be part of it on Saturday and to see those Oxford fans cheering the team on in a 30,000 crowd just made me want more days like that.

“I have worked hard to get to this stage and I won’t stop working. It’s great that the club has faith in me, and I want to keep improving, keep learning and show that they made the right decision.”

U’s boss Karl Robinson added: “He’s a very humble young man but he also has that determination that you need as a striker.

“He is very strong, he is a good finisher, and he has scored goals at every level so far. He deserves to be in and around the first team and we think that is going to help him develop even further.”

Academy Manager to Leave Role

Dan Harris will leave his role as the club’s academy manager at the end of the month, ending a four year spell in charge.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “Moving on from a club like Oxford United is always going to be difficult and it has certainly been a real privilege to serve in the role of academy manager over the last five seasons.

“I have the upmost respect for the board, the manager and everyone associated with Oxford United and, after conversations with my family over recent weeks, know that now is the right time to step aside from my current role and take a bit of a break.

“Looking ahead, the club is in a really positive place with some outstanding people involved and I certainly want to wish Karl; the board; the staff; and all the players and fans every success they the embark on the season ahead.

“I want to finish by putting on record my thanks to everyone that I have had the privilege of working alongside during my time at the club.”

Davis Leaves on Loan

Young Oxford United midfielder Ben Davies has joined Thai League 1 side Port FC on a season-long loan.

The 21-year-old has managed just one senior appearance since his arrival from Fulham last summer but has featured regularly for Thailand U23s and was a standout performer at the Southeast Asian Games this summer.

Despite featuring regularly during pre-season, including scoring once in a win at Hungerford, it looks clear that the midfielder isn’t part of Karl Robinson’s plans.

Speaking to the club’s official website, the U’s boss said: “Ben is very talented and technically very gifted.

“He needs to show that on a regular basis in competitive first-team football and this will be a good chance for him. He has international ambitions and this will hopefully help with that as well.”

Leeds Youngster Joins On Loan

Oxford bolstered their midfield options with the addition of Leeds United youngster Lewis Bate on a season-long loan.

The 19-year-old central midfielder, who moved to Elland Road for a seven-figure fee from Chelsea last summer, has managed four appearances for the club but is touted as one for the future, having represented England at U20 level.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, he said: “I spoke with the manager and he swayed it.

“Since then I’ve learnt from it and in the last couple of years I’ve been exposed to a first-team environment, so I’m looking forward to being in this one.

“Going for a promotion is exciting and hopefully we can do it here.

“I want a lot of games and quality minutes, I know it won’t be easy as I’ll be fighting for a shirt.

He played twice in the Football League Trophy and made his senior debut for Leeds against West Ham United in the FA Cup.

Whites manager Jesse Marsch handed him his Premier League debut against his former club in a 3-0 defeat.

He added: “Last season was tough, people’s wages were on the line so thinking about relegation was difficult.

“On the flip side of that, thinking about promotion can only be a good thing.”

Another Youngster Commits Future

Oxford United’s youngest ever goalscorer Slavi Spasov has penned a one year extension at the club.

The 18-year-old opened his U’s account aged just 16 when he scored against Fulham in a Football League Trophy match.

Injuries prevented him from training with the Bulgaria U18 side but he still impressed during loan spells with Woking and North Leigh.

First Win of the Season for Oxford United With Victory Over Cambridge

Following their opening day defeat at Derby County, the U’s bounced back and picked up all three points at home against Cambridge United.

The two sides went in level at half time but the hosts dominated for much of the second half. Despite that, Elliott Moore and Matty Taylor saw late headers saved as a frustrating afternoon loomed.

Up step academy graduate Tyler Goodrham, who was making his Football League debut. Three minutes into stoppage time, the youngster jinked into the box and rifled the ball into the top corner to seal the win.