OXFORD United have added an extra layer of research to their preparations for Saturday’s clash with Coventry City after making an addition to their coaching staff.

Garry Parker, who played top-flight football for four different clubs, has been tasked with watching the U’s opposition each week.

On top of the usual reports produced by scouts, the former Glasgow Celtic first-team coach will play a key role on the training pitch.

When the U’s go through their 11 versus 11 session, the 53-year-old, from Kidlington, will manage the other team to replicate their style.

He said: “If you’ve got the opposition’s set-up against Oxford’s XI they can see what they are up against – it’s going to help.

“Obviously it’s not going to be exactly the same because it’s different types of player, but it gives them an idea of how Coventry play.

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“Having the chance to work for Oxford is nice as a local lad and if I can help then it’s brilliant.

“I watched Coventry on Saturday. They’re a good footballing side and you need to press them and have a right go.”

Parker has been informally helping United this summer, making use of his contacts book to assist on transfers and had a hand in Matty Taylor’s signing last week.

And with a couple of vacancies about to open up behind the scenes, they could make an offer.

Boss Karl Robinson said: “Certain staff are moving on to other situations, so we had that opportunity to do something.

“It’s a different role which gets him on the grass one day a week, but also gets him around the place.

“Being from Oxford he knows the importance of having a successful team.

“We’re thankful to have him and he’s going to be a big boost to us.

“We’re always trying to evolve and use new ideas.”

Robinson believes the sessions involving Parker will effectively give his players a better dress rehearsal ahead of games than they had previously.

He said: “Garry will know their strengths and weaknesses, how high the full backs get, how narrow the team are, etc.

“My job is to coach my team against his in a seven minute each way game.

“We can film it, watch it back and our first idea on the game might not be right.

“We can then tinker with it on the Friday.

“It’s just trying to look at things in more detail and give the players all the support they need.”