Oxford MailAppleton keen to bolster U's 'young' squad (From Oxford Mail)

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  • "We can tell you exactly what we need. A central midfielder capable of putting his foot on the ball and pass it to a striker capable of getting into the right position and then hit the target and not the car park behind the ground. A couple of decent full-backs would be nice, but not priority. A left-sided midfielder/winger capable of taking on and beating a defender and also capable of putting in the occasional decent cross would also be nice.

    And that's just the minimum requirement - so not much needed at all..."
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Appleton keen to bolster U's 'young' squad

Oxford Mail: Oxford United’s new head cocach, Michael Appleton, listens to the club’s head of sports   science, Alasdair Lane, at his first training session yesterday Oxford United’s new head cocach, Michael Appleton, listens to the club’s head of sports science, Alasdair Lane, at his first training session yesterday

New Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton is looking to sign players with nous and experience to bolster the squad he has inherited.

A quiet summer has seen only striker Danny Hylton join so far, but plenty of activity is expected between now and the start of the season on Saturday, August 9.

Appleton was brought in to replace Gary Waddock on Friday, and incoming chairman Darryl Eales has agreed to make funds available to strengthen the playing squad.

While it will not be a spending spree, several new faces are expected.

Appleton, who began work yesterday, will assess the players this week, but has an idea of where improvements can be made.

He said: “I think we’ve got a very young squad.

“Youth will certainly take you to certain areas of where you want to get to performance-wise.

“But sometimes you need a little bit of nous and experience.

“If we can get that balance and mix right then hopefully it will bode well.”

The 38-year-old has targets in mind, although at this stage he does not have an idea how many players are needed.

“Who knows, that’s for me to sit down with the staff over the next couple of days and identify as soon as possible the main areas we need to strengthen quickly,” he said.

“Once we get the main areas sorted out we might even look to add even more.

“Obviously I have a list of certain players, but I’m sure the football club have a list as well that they’ve been identifying over the summer.

“We want to try and get a few players in as soon as possible to hopefully support the players we’ve got already.”

Appleton is keen to move swiftly, with the start of the new season less than five weeks away.

The U’s boss admitted they were playing catch-up on the rest of Sky Bet League Two.

But he believes an excellent contacts book will help.

He said: “Under normal circumstances as a manager if you were preparing for the following season you would start in April.

“It is a disadvantage, but I’d like to think the contacts I have, Mark (Ashton, chief executive) has and the other coaching staff here have, we’ll be able to add some real quality players towards what we’ve already got.”

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