Oxford United endured yet another frustrating week on the pitch with two defeats in League One.
Elsewhere, the transfer window has been and gone and the U’s saw two new arrivals before the Tuesday deadline, but also saw the departure of an important player.
Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Two More Losses and Transfer Deadline Deals
We have completed the signing of forward Ateef Konate on loan from @NFFC until the end of the season
Welcome to the U's, Ateef! 🇫🇷
— Oxford United FC (@OUFCOfficial) January 30, 2023
U’s Sign Nottingham Forest Youngster
Oxford United made their fourth addition of the transfer window with the arrival of Nottingham Forest striker, Ateef Konate.
The 21-year-old scored eight goals in his last eight games for Forest’s U21 side and was voted as Premier League 2 Player of the Month for October.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “I am looking forward to it. I have been made to feel very welcome and it’s a great club.
“I want to play games, score my first goal and help the team, and I know there are two home games this week so I am really looking forward to training and then being part of it.”
Manager Karl Robinson added: “His scoring record this season is excellent. He can play all across the front line or as a 10, he is fast, very skilful and really exciting to watch.
“It’s great to get this over the line ahead of the window closing and to have an extra day or two to work with him ahead of the game against Barnsley on Wednesday.”
Tottenham Youngster on Radar
On deadline day, Oxford were one of four Football League teams showing an interest in Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, Harvey White.
This came from Football Insider, Pete O’Rourke, who added that West Bromwich Albion, Luton Town and Barnsley were also keen to land the 21-year-old.
The defensive midfielder made his Premier League debut during a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in January and has been on the bench on a number of occasions, including five Champions League group games.
However, the youngster eventually penned a loan deal with Derby County later that day.
👋 Welcome to the U's Tyler Smith!
— Oxford United FC (@OUFCOfficial) January 31, 2023
Oxford United Sign Hull City Striker
Oxford then made their fifth addition of the window with the loan arrival of Hull City striker, Tyler Smith.
The 24-year-old, who joined the Tigers in August 2021, scored three goals in 14 Championship appearances, including a brace in a 4-1 win at Wigan Athletic. However, game time has been limited, so a loan move suits both parties.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “I’m glad to get it sorted and hopefully I can play a part on Wednesday night against Barnsley.
“It’s a really impressive club and they play good attractive football which I hope will suit the way I like to play. The gaffer spoke of the ambition at the club and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Karl Robinson added: “He’s a good player. He works hard, he is quick and he is a good finisher.
“We have spoken a lot about the need for forward players and with Tyler and Ateef Konate joining over the last 24 hours we have brought in two very exciting players who I am sure will do really well for us.”
Local Striker Joins League One Rivals
In a surprise transfer twist, Matty Taylor was then sent out on loan to League One rivals, Port Vale.
The 32-year-old has struggled in front of goal this season, with just three in 22 league appearances, but has been a revelation since his arrival from Bristol City in 2019, where he has netted 64 goals for his hometown club.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Karl Robinson said: “Matty is a fantastic character and his record here speaks for itself. But for one reason or another, he hasn’t been his usual prolific self for us this season.
“We now have a number of options we want to look at in that position. We have just brought in two exciting young forwards, we have another coming through in Gatlin O’Donkor, we have Kyle Joseph, Billy Bodin is able to play centrally and Sam Baldock and Marcus Browne are coming back to fitness.
“Matty still has that appetite for goals that he has always had so hopefully the move works for all of us. He leaves with the respect and love of everyone at the club and I have absolutely no doubt that he will be back at some stage, in some capacity.”
Taylor, who is out of contract in the summer, added: “I have absolutely loved my time at Oxford and am so proud to have been there for two spells. It’s a club where I have a very special bond with the players, staff and fans and I wish them all nothing but the best.
“There are no hard feelings, it’s a football decision and one that I hope works for everyone. I am really excited to be linking up with Port Vale and can’t wait to get started.”
Third Straight League Loss
With deadline day done, focus turned to matters on the pitch but Oxford’s misery continued with a 2-1 defeat at home against Barnsley.
The Tykes took the lead midway through the first half and doubled their advantage after the restart.
Elliott Moore did reduce the deficit with just under 20 minutes remaining but the U’s were unable to salvage an equaliser in the game.
Second Defeat of the Week for Oxford United and a Fourth In Succession
Oxford’s performances continued to spark negativity as they the. lost 1-0 at home against Shrewsbury.
The U’s saw several early attempts blocked, saved and denied by the woodwork before a second-half strike against the run of play for the visitors sealed the win.
The result leaves Karl Robinson’s side eight points clear of the drop in 15th place.