OXFORD United have looked to strengthen their new under 23 side with three signings.

Armani Little, Steven Johnson-Fikula and Brandon Taverner have agreed one-year contracts with the U’s.

They will join up with the rest of United’s squad when pre-season training begins next week.

Little had been on the books at Southampton since he was 12 and captained their under 18s.

The 21-year-old midfielder also played two Checkatrade Trophy ties for Saints’ under 23s last season before being released in May.

Little said: “It was time for me to move on.

“I had been there all the way through the youth system and I need to play first-team football.

“Oxford have given me a great opportunity, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Johnson-Fikula was spotted by United in a League Football Education trial after he was released by Mansfield Town.

The left-sided centre half, 18, was understandably disappointed not to be offered a deal with the Stags, but is hoping to prove his talent with United.

Johnson-Fikula said: “It’s every young boy’s dream to become a professional footballer and when I was told by Mansfield I wouldn’t be getting a contract I felt that was fading away.

“But my family have helped me to stay positive and the smile on my face sums up the opportunity Oxford have given me, so I couldn’t be any happier.”

Taverner impressed on trial with United at the end of last season and scored in a development game for the club.

The centre forward, who was a part of the FCV Academy, which offers private courses for players aged 14 and above to develop in the game, cannot wait to get started.

Taverner, 19, said: "I’ve never played at this level before.

“But it’s not going to make me feel scared or anything, I want to take this opportunity as it comes, impress, and see where I can go from there.”

The trio were at the Kassam Stadium this morning for fitness tests and under 23 coach Chris Allen is looking forward to seeing how they develop.

He said: “They are all really talented young lads who we feel have the ability and attitude to make a real impact here.

“Armani is that step ahead in terms of experience and games played and I am sure will be part of Karl’s first-team plans.

“But it is all about building for the future and getting that right mix of potential as well as the experienced senior players.

“We look forward to seeing all three players develop.”