FORMER Oxford United striker James Roberts has joined Oxford City for a third time.

The ex-U’s man, who turns 24 on Sunday, will return to Court Place Farm next season under new boss David Oldfield.

Roberts has endured a difficult few years since bursting on to the scene at United in 2014/15, but the Vanarama National League South outfit fought off competition from several clubs for his signature.

A former U’s player himself, Oldfield believes the striker will be a huge asset in the coming campaign.

He said: “I’m really pleased that James has signed.

“We’re very excited to have him at the club.

“He’s a very good player and the work ethic and type of character that he possesses is what we want to build here.”

Roberts broke into the United team in Michael Appleton’s first season as manager, scoring five times and making 26 appearances.

He was loaned to Chester the following campaign, but struggled with injuries and suffered a family bereavement.

The striker made several more temporary moves over the next few seasons, including stints at City in 2015/16 and 2016/17, and was released by United in summer 2018.

After leaving the U’s, he had loan spells at Stalybridge Celtic and Guiseley, before arriving at National League North side Hereford, where he scored five goals in 19 appearances.

Roberts enjoyed a productive campaign at National League North side Spennymoor Town last season, before the competition was halted by the coronavirus outbreak.

He joins a City squad that is starting to come together, with Oldfield already re-signing midfielders Zac McEachran and Reece Fleet for 2020/21.

Meanwhile, City have until 5pm tomorrow to cast their vote on how they want the final standings to be determined.

The National League has sent clubs its ‘ordinary resolution’, which would see positions decided on unweighted points per game and play-offs being held “subject to government guidance”.

City were 14th when the campaign was suspended in March.