HELPING to recruit the right players to improve the Oxford United squad will dominate Mark Ashton’s first weeks as chief executive – with attacking players top of the agenda.
The 42-year-old intends to play a role in advancing the club in all areas, from youth development to the commercial side of the business.
But with the start of the Sky Bet League Two season just five weeks away, he is well aware Michael Appleton needs to hit the ground running when he takes over as head coach on Monday morning.
So far Danny Hylton is the only addition United have sealed this summer.
Yesterday joint owner Ian Lenagan revealed the plan had been to only add one more signing, but the new investment injected by Darryl Eales means there is greater scope to bolster the playing staff.
While a radical shake-up of the squad is not being planned, Ashton is well aware areas need to be strengthened.
“We’ve got to focus in the short-term on the playing squad,” he said.
“We will look to add, I’ve already had some discussions with Michael.
“He’ll be honest and there are a number of players who’ve left the squad since the end of last season and between those players there’s over 30 goals gone out of the team.
“We’re very aware of where we need to strengthen, but we’ve got to be sure it’s strengthened in the right way.
“There’s no point recruiting players for the sake of it. Sensible funds will be made available to strengthen us.”
While Appleton will be starting his squad building two months after the rest of the clubs in Sky Bet League Two, Ashton does not believe it gives United a problem.
He said: “Not really, it goes back to the club being run well.
“Ian hasn’t left himself in a position where he’s got 14 players out of contract.
“It’s an evolution of the squad, so I don’t think there’s anything we can’t cope with in that respect.
“The transfer window goes on after the start of the season as well.”
There is also the potential for fresh blood on the coaching staff.
Andy Melville has not been replaced since leaving as first-team coach in May.
Former West Brom defender Darren Moore, who was part of Appleton’s staff at Blackburn Rovers in 2013, has been linked with becoming United’s new assistant manager, although yesterday Ashton indicated nothing was decided.
He said: “Initially Michael will come in and we’ll take it from there.
“There’s no rush, there are good coaches here, so let’s evolve it.”
- Related stories
- It's all change at Oxford United as Eales, Ashton and Appleton come in and Waddock is sacked
- Disappointed rivals now backing United for the future
- New United chairman Eales says to the fans: My door is open
Lenagan says the chairman role was tough but rewarding
Latest United news:
4:00pm Tuesday 30th June 2015
GEORGE Baldock has agreed to return to Oxford United on a season-long loan deal from MK Dons.
12:00pm Tuesday 30th June 2015
OXFORD United’s game at Bristol Rovers in September has been selected for live coverage by Sky Sports.
10:00am Tuesday 30th June 2015
Ryan Clarke looks certain to be leaving Oxford United, with head coach Michael Appleton expecting the goalkeeper to depart this week.
9:00am Tuesday 30th June 2015
Oxford's United’s squad will visit RAF Benson tomorrow for a two-day team bonding trip aimed at testing them physically and mentally.
9:30am Monday 29th June 2015
OXFORD United are looking into the feasibility of setting up a purpose-built training ground on fields opposite the Kassam Stadium.
9:00am Saturday 27th June 2015
Max Crocombe’s international call-up will not put him at a disadvantage when it comes to Oxford United’s pre-season, according to the club’s goalkeeping coach Wayne Brown.
2:12pm Friday 26th June 2015
MAX Crocombe has been named in the New Zealand Under 23 squad for the Pacfic Games next month.
10:30am Friday 26th June 2015
Michael Appleton says he is in the best position he has been as a coach ahead of Oxford United’s players reporting back for pre-season duty today.
10:24am Friday 26th June 2015
OXFORD United's home game against Stevenage over the Easter weekend has been brought forward by 24 hours.