SEVERAL clubs have joined Oxford United in the race to sign Lee Holmes on loan from Southampton.

The 24-year-old’s one month spell at the Kassam Stadium expired after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Bradford City.

Holmes has been a big hit with the U’s, scoring twice in five starts and providing quality on the ball going forward which has been particularly useful in the absence of Peter Leven.

The versatile attacker told the Oxford Mail last week he would love to extend his loan, but his form has attracted the attention of other clubs.

U’s boss Chris Wilder remains hopeful of renewing the arrangement, even with higher-ranked clubs interested in snapping Holmes up.

He said: “We’ve had a chat to Lee and he’s told us he doesn’t want to go unless it’s a real big club that comes in for him.

“There have been enquiries from a couple of clubs in League Two and League One and some others – the boy’s got to make the right decision for himself.

“I don’t think we could’ve done any more in terms of the way they’ve treated him and the reception the supporters have given him.

“Hopefully, we’ve done enough to say on Monday or Tuesday, fingers crossed, he can stay with us until the end of the season. Unless a head-turning move comes up, which could happen because he’s done great, we might be in a position to get him.”

Mehdi Kerrouche, whose loan also ran out last weekend, did not travel to Bradford and has returned to Swindon Town.