RYAN Clarke has committed his future to Oxford United after signing a new contract yesterday.
The goalkeeper put pen to paper on a two-year deal, with the club having the option of an additional 12 months.
It represents a significant gesture for both parties, as Clarke will be 35 if the contract runs its full course.
The former Bristol Rovers stopper has made more than 200 appearances for United since joining in 2009 and is delighted to extend the stay.
He said: “I have been made to feel welcome ever since I first came through the door.
“The fans have been brilliant with me, and the club is ambitious and always looking to move forward. “I feel as though the next few years should be when I am in my prime as a goalkeeper and I am looking forward to those years being with Oxford.
“We are in a very strong position in the league and I want to be part of what is happening here.”
Clarke, who admitted in November the lack of news about talks was playing on his mind, becomes the first of United’s key players out of contract this summer to negotiate a deal.
This season has been an impressive return to form for the U’s No 1, who was ruled out of the second half of the last campaign recovering from double shoulder surgery.
He has not missed a minute of competitive football since the summer and is a key part of the best defensive record in Sky Bet League Two.
The contract is timely, coming on the back of Tuesday night’s man-of-the-match performance in the goalless draw at Exeter City.
It was the fourth successive clean sheet in the league, where Clarke has not been beaten for more than six hours.
U’s chairman Ian Lenagan said: “Ryan worked very hard to come back from injury last season and has a great attitude. “He has improved year on year as a goalkeeper and he understands what the club is trying to build. “We are very pleased that he will be around to help us progress.”