It’s been a topsy-turvy week for Oxford United, beginning with their manager leaving but ending with another league win.
Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Liam Manning Joins Bristol City But the U’s Keep Rolling On
Reports on Monday claimed that Oxford head coach Liam Manning was close to joining Championship club, Bristol City.
Just a day later, the U’s lost their manager with the 38-year-old signing a deal with the Robins until 2027.
Chairman Grant Ferguson told the club’s official website: “We reluctantly gave Bristol City permission to speak with Liam after he indicated he wanted to discuss their vacant managerial position with them.
“The club did everything it could to keep him here, but we move on and the project continues. Our focus now is to quickly appoint Liam’s successor and support Craig (Short) as interim Head Coach.”
Tim Williams, Oxford United’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “I am hugely disappointed to be losing Liam and Chris (Hogg, assistant manager) at this stage of the season, particularly given the support they had been given.
“However, we have already begun the process of securing the best possible candidate to replace Liam. This is a fantastic club with great training facilities and an exciting future – I have no doubt we will have huge interest in the role.”
Manning joined the U’s in March following Karl Robinson’s sacking and kept the relegation-threatened U’s in League One with two wins and five draws from the final ten games.
This season, he had overseen ten wins from 15, leaving the club second in the division, just three points behind league leaders Portsmouth.
Big Win Over Chelsea
Oxford’s players put the news of the manager departing quickly behind them with a brilliant display against Chelsea’s U21s in the Football League Trophy.
First U’s goals for Sonny Perkins and Jordan Thorniley were followed by a Josh Murphy brace and important goal from Mark Harris to seal a 5-0 win.
International Call-Ups for Three Oxford United Players
On Wednesday, Ciaron Brown was selected for a return to the Northern Ireland squad.
The 25-year-old is in Michael O’Neill’s squad to face Finland in Helsinki on November 17 before taking on Denmark in Belfast on November 20.
The following day, Fin Stevens and James Beadle were also selected to represent Wales U21s and England U20s respectively.
Stevens could be in line to play Iceland and Denmark in Newport while Beadle could travel to Serbia and then face Northern Ireland at Goodison Park.
Club Hopeful of Appointing New Manager By Cheltenham Fixture
Interim head coach Craig Short has told the Oxford Mail that the club are hoping to replace Liam Manning before their game at Cheltenham at the end of the month.
The U’s faced Leyton Orient on Saturday before another international break.
Short said: “It’s been mentioned to me casually that they’ll have someone in place for the week in the build-up to Cheltenham.
“But there’s an outside chance I might have to be in for the Cheltenham game. I don’t mind that, of course I don’t, it’s my job.
“I think there’ll be someone in place that week, to prep the lads for the Cheltenham game.”
Five-Goal Thriller at Leyton Orient
Oxford’s first league game since Manning’s departure ended with a 3-2 win on the road at Leyton Orient.
Ruben Rodrigues netted a brace and added a fortuitous assist to put the U’s three goals up but a second-half comeback from the O’s made it a nervy finish in the capital.
However, with Portsmouth dropping points, Oxford are now just one point behind the league leaders.