Oxford United

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League 1
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Season Guide
2021/2022

Oxford United

In


Jordan Thorniley (Defender, Blackpool, Season-long loan); Steve Seddon (Defender, Birmingham City); Gavin Whyte (Midfielder, Cardiff City, Season-long loan); Nathan Holland (Midfielder, West Ham United, Season-long loan); Ryan Williams (Midfielder, Portsmouuth); Billy Bodin (Attacker, Preston North End)

Out


Rob Atkinson (k) (Defender, Bristol City); Josh Ruffels (r) (Defender, Huddersfield Town); Brandon Barker (sp) (Midfielder, Rangers, Loan ended); Liam Kelly (sp) (Midfielder, Feyenoord, Loan ended); Olamide Shodipo (sp) (Midfielder, Queens Park Rangers, Loan ended); Rob Hall (Midfielder, released); Sean Clare (Midfielder, Charlton Athletic); Dylan Asonganyi (Attacker, Maidenhead United); Elliot Lee (r) (Attacker, Luton Town, Loan ended)

Karl Robinson has cut a rather frustrated figure during a summer which sees him head into a fourth season at Oxford United. A rather ignominious defeat to Blackpool in the play-offs saw last season end on a sour note and he has had another fight on his hands to keep his best players at the club. Left-back Josh Ruffels departure was expected and he has opted to join Huddersfield Town. The loss of centre-back Rob Atkinson is a bigger blow albeit softened by a significant seven-figure transfer fee. It won’t be any consolation to Robinson however, who complained that the club had sold 11-and-a-half million pounds worth of talent and implied that they were happy to accept a play-off finish and not really got for it. There is cause for optimism however with the U’s already possessing the basis of a strong squad. Goalkeeper Jack Stevens enjoyed a breakthrough season, midfielder Cameron Brannigan recovered from a serious eye problem to re-capture his best form and midfielder Marcus McGuane’s return from injury after making his loan move permanent will be a big boost. Steve Seddon’s arrival from Birmingham City could be an upgrade on Ruffels whilst wingers Billy Bodin and Ryan Williams will be looking to supply more goals for striker Matty Taylor. Robinson is far from finished in the transfer market and is looking for a left-sided centre-back and two left-wingers. It does feel however that this could be his last attempt to achieve promotion with the U’s.

Target


Play-offs. They will be hoping it will be third time lucky having missed out in the play-offs in each of the last two seasons.

Season Review
2020/2021

№6: Oxford United

It was another season of play-off heartbreak for Oxford United, who were outclassed by Blackpool over two legs. They did well to extend their season in truth, having made a desperate start following a painful defeat to Wycombe Wanderers in last season’s League One play-off final at Wembley. Manager Karl Robinson kept most of the squad together, with the notable exception of central defender Rob Dickie but the hangover from the loss to the Chairboys saw them facing a relegation battle with winter approaching. The latest in a series of errors from goalkeeper Jake Eastwood in a home defeat to bitter rivals Swindon Town saw youngster Jack Stevens given his chance between the sticks and he took it with both hands. The side went on a remarkable nine-match winning run despite losing Shandon Baptiste and Tariqe Fosu-Henry to Brentford in the January transfer window. Their form remained consistent enough to sneak the last play-off place on the final day of the season. The U’s came up against a classy Blackpool side however and were beaten 6-3 on aggregate as they missed out on a return to Wembley. Rob Atkinson made the League One Team of the Year whilst Matty Taylor finished as leading goalscorer with 19 goals. Robinson could struggle to keep hold of his better players however with both Jack Stevens and midfield playmaker Cameron Brannigan linked with moves to Championship clubs this summer. Having come close in the previous two seasons, Robinson will be expected to deliver promotion next time around.


Player of the Season: Robert Atkinson

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