A striker who has earned international recognition with England’s youth sides is poised to join Oxford United today.
Adding firepower has been a priority for Michael Appleton since taking over as head coach last month and the search looks to have finally delivered.
After agreeing a loan deal in principle over the weekend, the head coach is optimistic of wrapping up the move for the highly-rated youngster, believed to be from a Championship club.
He said: “I’d like to think the young man we’re going to bring in will give us that little extra at the top of the pitch and become a little bit of a focal point.
“He’s been well recognised by some of the England teams as well. We are excited to get him on board.
“I don’t want to give it the kiss of death which is why I’m very cautious about it.
“But I fully expect him to be in the building on Monday morning.
“Things have been agreed verbally and we expect him to be in.”
United’s need for more options in the final third was again shown on Saturday as they lost 4-1 at home to Bournemouth.
The exception was a wonderful finish from Danny Rose midway through the first half, which equalised Junior Stanislas’s free-kick.
The midfielder said: “We won the ball quite high up the pitch, which was quite pleasing because it’s something we’ve been working on.
“I managed to skip past one defender and found myself one-versus-one.
“I had a look to the right and didn’t think there was really much on, so instinctively I just dinked it over the keeper and thankfully it came off.”
Callum Wilson struck twice late on to complete his hat-trick and make it 4-1, which was harsh on the home side in their final action before the season begins this Saturday.
But Appleton, whose side lost 1-0 to Wolves last Tuesday, was not too concerned.
He said: “For an hour or so I was more than happy.
“We had to make a few changes due to fatigue and players not having their minutes.
“It went a little bit after that and I felt desperately for the players for the last couple of goals, because they didn’t deserve that, but these things happen.”
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Some of the county’s brightest young sporting talents are looking for glory in Manchester as they compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games, which get under way today.
More than 1,600 school-age athletes from around the country will descend on Manchester for the four-day multi-sport event – 15 of whom will be looking to bring a medalback to Oxfordshire.
Six of those will be competing in hockey, with Jona Boender (Abingdon), Niall Devaney (Oxford), Finn Dunleavy (Woodstock), Louisa Heathcote (Banbury) and Storm Sunderland (Deddington) all representing England sides, while Witney’s James Palmer has been selected for Wales.
Bloxham School pupil Heathcote, who is 17, will be representing England Girls White.
She is relishing the chance to shine saying: “I’m so happy to have been selected.
“My aim is to enjoy myself, but also play the best hockey I can throughout the tournament.”
Four Oxfordshire youngsters will be competing in athletics, which takes place tomorrow at the 6,500-capacity Manchester Regional Arena.
Luisa Chantler-Edmond (Headington), Emily Thompson (Banbury), Sam Way (Chipping Norton) and Ryan Craze (Didcot) have been selected to represent the Midlands.
Bicester duo Kieran Bird and Thomas Thornley and Faringdon’s Emily Nesbit will all represent England East in swimming.
Bicester Blue Fins swimmer Thornley, 15, said: “I feel very privileged to have been asked to compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games.
“It will be a great opportunity for me to develop as a swimmer and as an athlete overall.
“I can’t wait to get there!”
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And Benj Scheider, from Abingdon, completes the strong contingent from Oxfordshire with his selection for the England fencing team.
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