Mark Wright, Oxford United's new manager, is not a man to be messed with.

That became clear at yesterday's press conference, when chairman Firoz Kassam announced the successor to David Kemp.

And it will become evident to the United players who thought their season was over, but who will be called back to the Manor Ground today or in the next few days to show the new boss what they're made of.

United chairman Firoz Kassam flanked by assistant manager Ted McMinn, left, and new boss Mark Wright at the Manor

Wright, 37, has signed a three-year contract and he brings with him as his assistant Ted McMinn, 38, his former Derby County colleague.

The two worked together at Southport where they took the part-time club from the lower reaches of the Conference to one of its leading sides.

Wright had only been in the job a few minutes when he issued a message to the United players that he will not tolerate anything less than 100 per cent commitment, and anyone who fails to give that will be shown the door.

"I don't tolerate players who don't give 100 per cent and I don't like under-achievers," he said.

"In any successful managerial partnership you have a good guy and a bad guy and, unfortunately for the players, I'm the bad guy."

He added: "The chairman has delivered a stadium which requires first division football and that's what we're aiming for."

Wright, who was born in Dorchester-on-Thames but grew up in Berinsfield and attended Peers School, Littlemore, served his apprenticeship with Oxford United and played for them in ten league games before moving to Southampton for a club record £230,000.

He said: "I'm absolutely delighted to come back to the club where I started my professional career and to come back here for my first job in the Football League. I started at Southport and that was a very, very good apprenticeship, but this is where I want to be."

Wright says he is a fiercely determined competitor who always wants to win, no matter what he is playing.

"Whether I'm playing for Liverpool or you are playing me at chess, I'm the same. I want to win."

Under his leadership, Southport climbed from 21st in his first season to ninth in 1999-2000 and fourth this season.

The three-year deals they have signed at Oxford give them time to build a team which they hope will climb back up the Football League.

"I've not come here to be a makeweight but to try and turn this club around," Wright said. "But both Ted and I have signed nice contracts so the chairman has given us enough time to turn this around."

Wright says that as a manager he is "very demanding", not just of the players, but of all those around him, including the other coaches. He is also very organised and knows how he wants his team to play.

But the tried and tested, but often failed, 4-4-2 system may be a thing of the past.

Wright's preference is often for 3-5-2 though he admitted that this season at Southport, he played "every system going - except 4-4-2!"

Mike Ford, who acted as the U's caretaker manager for the last two matches of the season following Kemp's departure, will take over as reserve team manager.