MICHAEL Appleton hopes Oxford United will clinch their first new signing of the close season in the next few days.

The head coach had spoken to more than a dozen transfer targets before the campaign finished earlier this month.

And with a finalised playing budget and contract offers to several United players this week, Appleton will shortly have clarity on what is possible this summer.

Speaking before the squad departed for an end-of-season break at the weekend, the U’s boss was keen to get cracking on assembling a side which will be able to compete in Sky Bet League One.

He said: “We would certainly move quickly, but we’re dependent on a lot of things.

“I can assure you, at the start of next week we will be looking to do things ASAP.

“These things might not work out like that, but it could be (this week).”

During the second week of the close season 12 months ago the U’s pulled off the signings of Kemar Roofe and Liam Sercombe.

It came after weeks of planning which allowed the club to hit the ground running in the transfer market.

This time around United did not have certainty over which division they would be playing in until the final day of the season, when automatic promotion was secured.

It makes a repeat of last summer’s succession of early deals unlikely, although the calibre of targets on Appleton’s wish-list would have been similar even if the club had not gone up.

The U’s boss said: “We might not have got some players if we had still been in League Two, but I think it was important to engage with players.

“We wouldn’t do that unless we thought they were good enough to play in, and get us out of, League One anyway.

“Those conversations have already taken place.”

He added: “I don’t think we’ll have the luxury of what we did last season, because then we knew which division we were going to be in from February and March.

“I’ve spoken to at least 12 players already. We won’t bring 12 in during the summer, but I would imagine there would be a good percentage of them as Oxford United players next season.”