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:
3:49pm Wednesday 4th March 2015
WATCH the best of the action from Oxford United's 1-1 draw with Morecambe at the Kassam Stadium.
9:30am Wednesday 4th March 2015
A LATE equaliser from George Baldock saw Oxford United come from behind to draw 1-1 with Morecambe, but the full back admitted it still felt like two points dropped.
9:45pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015
GEORGE Baldock rescued Oxford United with a late strike which earned a draw against Morecambe at the Kassam Stadium.
9:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Armand Gnanduillet is available to make his Oxford United debut against Morecambe tonight after joining on loan until the end of the season.
9:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015
MICHAEL Collins believes tonight's clash is the most important of Oxford United's season as they attempt to open the gap on the battle at the bottom with a home victory against Morecambe.
5:00pm Monday 2nd March 2015
OXFORD United have strengthened their attacking options before tomorrow's clash with Morecambe by signing Armand Gnanduillet on loan.
10:55am Monday 2nd March 2015
WATCH the key moments as Oxford United stood firm to claim a goalless draw at Fratton Park.
9:30am Monday 2nd March 2015
BOSS Michael Appleton hailed a new-found trust with his Oxford United players as they delivered a disciplined performance to claim a point with a goalless draw at Portsmouth.