Jim Smith has set his sights firmly on not just survival this season, but promotion next year after seeing his new-look Oxford United team get off to the perfect start.

The Bald Eagle was given a magnificent reception on his return to the club on Saturday, as United's biggest gate since January 2005 heralded the Nick Merry era with an atmosphere never seen before at the Kassam Stadium.

His players responded with a 1-0 victory over Peterborough that greatly boosts their hopes of beating the drop.

Smith said: "It was a fantastic three points. It's always nice to get off on the right foot in your first game, and we did.

"The fans' support was probably even better than I'd imagined, particularly once we went one up. In the first half they got behind us a bit and then got tentative, I think, as we all were.

"But they'd all come to support Oxford and it was great for them, and the chairman, to get that first win, and it was a super day."

Smith admits the win takes the pressure off his team, and will help him as he looks to build a side capable of gaining promotion in 14 months' time.

"We've got a lot of work to do, not just for this year, but for next year as well," he said.

"That win has taken the heat off a little bit. We can work a little bit less intensely and can have a look around and see what we can do to get promotion next year."

All of Smith's signings were impressive, with T'Cham N'Toya grabbing the winner, giant keeper Andrea Guatelli having huge presence and Jay Smith busy in midfield.

"Billy (Turley) hadn't done anything wrong and it was the same with Jamie Brooks and Steve Basham, but 'Bash' had 'flu all week," Smith said.

"They both came on and showed me what they could do and that was good.

"I think you could see the benefit of bringing a few new players in with the strength of our bench, with Bash, Liam Horsted and Brooks, three very good attacking forwards.

"That gave me as much satisfaction as anything, seeing that we had three players like that on the bench."

The win would have been even more emphatic, but for three great saves from Posh keeper Mark Tyler, denying Basham, Smith and Brooks.

"Peterborough's keeper was magnificent," the Bald Eagle agreed. "Basham should probably have scored with the header, but it was still a magnificent save.

"We dominated the second half, and at home, that's what you've got to try to achieve."