Appleton hails Josh Ashby as Oxford United youngster makes big impression in friendly win + match highlights

Josh Ashby (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Lewis Hayden, a member of the U’s youth team, in Saturday’s victory over Farnborough

Josh Ashby (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Lewis Hayden, a member of the U’s youth team, in Saturday’s victory over Farnborough

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

MICHAEL Appleton reserved special praise for Josh Ashby after the teenager finished off an impressive week by scoring the winner for Oxford United on Saturday.

The highly-rated midfielder, who signed his first professional contract in February, scored with a free-kick as the U’s began their pre-season fixtures with a 2-1 win at Farnborough.

It was Appleton’s first game in charge and the head coach admitted Ashby, 18, had immediately caught the eye when he took over last Monday.

He said: “I’ve been really impressed with the kid since I walked through the door.

“From day one my first thought was ‘who is that? Tell me about him’.

He added: “The kid’s a talent.

“He sees a pass and that’s a talent in itself.

“Obviously you’ve got to deliver the pass, but he’s getting better all the time.

“You can see with a couple of years’ development and hopefully being around the first-team, we might have a player.”

Ashby, who struck the woodwork with an earlier free-kick but cleared the stand with a third attempt, was thrilled to find the net.

He said: “It was good to get a goal, especially a free-kick.

“I actually don’t practice them a lot. Last year I was on free-kicks towards the end and didn’t score.

“I haven’t really practised them, I do need to – did you see the third one?”

Farnborough’s goal came virtually from the kick-off following Ashby’s goal.

It was a sensational 60-yard effort from Lucas Enrique, catching out triallist goalkeeper Liam Roberts.

Appleton said: “It was a fantastic strike and you won’t see me pointing any fingers at Liam.

“He’s a 19-year-old who has probably only had 12 months coaching and I think he got caught in two minds with what he was going to do with it.”

The U’s boss was just happy to get through the game without picking up any new injuries.

Five senior players, including new signing Danny Hylton, David Hunt and Josh Ruffels, did not make the trip to Hampshire.

It is not cause for alarm, though, and all are expected to feature either at Oxford City tomorrow night or against Didcot Town on Saturday.

United should have a couple of new faces by then, with both Appleton and chief executive Mark Ashton saying on Saturday they were confident of sealing at least one deal before the City game.

Depending on progress made yesterday, the club may be in a position to unveil a new signing today.

Appleton also revealed the U’s were looking into taking the squad away for a short training break later this month, but acknowledged it might be too late to arrange.

Latest United news:

Ashby's Oxford United debut is a matter of timing - Appleton

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

JOSH Ashby is good enough to play in Oxford United’s side right now, but the teenager knows his time will come, according to head coach Michael Appleton.

Worried Hartlepool boss compares Oxford United to Real Madrid after scouting trip

Oxford Mail:

9:40am Friday 19th December 2014

RONNIE Moore is braced for a tough first game in charge of Hartlepool United after comparing opponents Oxford United to Real Madrid.

Oxford United striker John Campbell is keen to make his mark at Hartlepool

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 19th December 2014

John Campbell admits it would be difficult to keep his kit on if he was able to make an impact on debut for Oxford United tomorrow.

Interactive match preview: Appleton and Hylton on goals; Moore likens United to Real Madrid; Howard's future; Ashby; club stalwart departs + video

Oxford Mail:

9:34am Friday 19th December 2014

Get ready for kick-off with our interactive preview of Oxford United's trip to Hartlepool

Barren run in front of goal not affecting Oxford United's top scorer

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Friday 19th December 2014

THERE were times earlier this season when it felt like Danny Hylton was scoring in every game, but Oxford United’s top scorer is not getting weighed down by a sudden barren run in front of goal.

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