MARK Sykes hopes some strong performances during Oxford United’s run-in can help secure him a contract for next season.

The midfielder’s deal runs out this summer, but the U’s have an option to extend it for an extra 12 months.

Sykes has had an up-and-down season, featuring regularly other than a two-month spell in December and January when he played just three times.

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The 23-year-old has appeared in all of United’s 15 games since the beginning of February, but revealed he had not yet received an indication of which way the club is leaning.

“If they take it up happy days, but they haven’t told me what they want to do yet,” Sykes said.

“I feel like I’ve done well when I have been playing.

“But it’s not my decision, so it’s up to the club and whatever they think.

“If I’m playing well it makes their decision a little bit easier.”

Sykes, who signed from Northern Irish side Glenavon in January 2019, fell out of favour after the defeat to Swindon Town on November 28 and made just one league appearance over the next two months.

He has been used in a central role and on the right of a front three, but has admitted before he must improve a strike rate of just three goals in 82 games.

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A consistent string of displays could also boost his hopes of an international call-up, following his switch from Northern Ireland to the Republic last August.

Sykes was not available for selection last autumn while his paperwork was completed, but is aware he can put himself in the frame by making a telling impact with United.

He said: “I knew when I made my decision (to switch) that it wasn’t just for the next year.

“It was something you’ve got to commit your career to.

“That’s the thought process behind that.

“I know I’ve got to be involved week-in, week-out at Oxford to be in the picture at international level.

“As long as I keep doing well we’ll just have to see what happens.”