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Duberry pledges to stay on at Oxford United
9:00am Wednesday 16th May 2012 in U's News
Michael Duberry has reassured Oxford United fans of his commitment to the club following rumours the defender was poised to retire or look for a move elsewhere.
And he is set to line up in pre- season alongside Deane Smalley, who has returned to the U’s determined to put a forgettable first year with the club behind him.
Speculation that Duberry was on his way out of the club was sparked by the veteran centre back’s actions on the final day of the season.
The former Chelsea and Leeds United player lingered on the pitch at Port Vale to applaud the travelling supporters and gave his boots away to fans.
It was seen by some as a farewell, but the 36-year-old, who made 37 appearances for the U’s this season, made it clear on Twitter he intended to see out the second year of his deal.
Immediately after the Vale game, he tweeted: “Why does everyone seem to think I am not coming next season?? Not retiring! I am and raring to go!! #OUFC.”
He repeated the sentiment this week: “To the many #OUFC tweople out there, I am staying at the club for another season. I will be wearing a #YellowandBlue shirt next year.”
While the news about the influential defender will be welcomed by United’s fans, they may reserve judgement over Smalley.
The U’s fought off competition from several other clubs to sign the forward last summer, but he failed to live up to expectations.
After two goals in 26 appearances, the 23-year-old was loaned out to Bradford City in January.
But United boss Chris Wilder is hopeful Smalley can recapture the form which saw him play a key role in Chesterfield’s League Two title-winning side in the 2010/11 season.
“Deane must do better and he knows that,” the manager said.
“The boy wants to come back, we’ve kept in contact with him and he knows he’s not done himself justice.
“I think he owes himself and he owes me, because I put my trust in him.
“When you’re forward it’s so important to get off the mark early and I’m sure he can kick on and show everybody what he’s capable of.”
Meanwhile, U's midfielder Asa Hall has completed his move to Shrewsbury.
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