JOSH Ruffels has shown his value during the run-in to be offered a new contract at Oxford United, according to skipper Jake Wright.

The 22-year-old is one of nine players whose contracts expire this summer.

All negotiations were put on hold until there was clarity over which division the U’s would be playing in next season, but now promotion has been secured, talks will take place this week.

While Ruffels made 37 appearances in Michael Appleton’s first season in charge, the form of summer signings Liam Sercombe and John Lundstram has limited opportunities for the midfielder, from Kidlington.

He went nearly three months without playing a minute for the first team and did not start a league game until March.

But injuries to Lundstram and Joe Skarz opened the door for Ruffels to feature regularly during the closing weeks, first in central midfield and as a makeshift left back.

The performances impressed Wright, who thinks the former Coventry City trainee’s 12-month extension clause should be activated.

He said: “Ruffs had to be patient all year because Lunny and Sercs have been two of our best players and they’ve kept him out.

“But these last ten or 12 games he’s earned himself a contract.

“I’m not speaking out of turn, he’s shown when he gets a chance he takes it.

“He can play centre mid or left back very comfortably. I’m buzzing for him.”

JONJOE Kenny, who spent four months on loan at United, made his senior debut for Everton in their 3-0 win over Norwich City yesterday.