SIMON Eastwood has signed a new long-term contract at Oxford United.

The goalkeeper has agreed a three-year deal that keeps him with the U’s until summer 2024.

Eastwood, who turns 32 in June, has not featured in Sky Bet League One since a late mistake in last November’s derby defeat to Swindon Town.

It is the first time the experienced stopper has not been United’s outright No 1 since joining the club in summer 2016.

Read also: Oxford United boss on how transfer business must change

But Eastwood has remained supportive of current first-choice Jack Stevens and is keen to fight for a starting place.

He said: “It might come as a bit of a shock to some fans.

“Obviously the Swindon game didn’t go to plan for myself and the team.

“That’s part of goalkeeping, because if you make one mistake it costs you.”

Eastwood added: “I’ve signed the contract to get back in the team sooner or later.

“For me, it’s about working harder than ever and when my chance comes to take it.

“I might have got a bit lucky having such a smooth ride for four years, you don’t see it too much where a keeper plays all the time.

“This is the first time I’ve properly been challenged and beaten to the No 1 spot.

“That’s what goalkeeping is, when you hit a dip – which I admit I have – it’s how you overcome it.

“It doesn’t make you a bad keeper over your career.”

Eastwood has made 215 U’s appearances across five seasons, but just four of those have come since the Swindon game.

His existing deal was due to run out this summer, so the ex-Blackburn Rovers man was keen to secure his future when United opened talks six weeks ago.

Eastwood said: “Some people don’t understand when you’re in the leagues we’re in it’s so tough.

“You can go months without any contact with teams (about a contract).

“I could have run my contract down and got something better or something worse, you just don’t know.

“Everyone knows I’ve got two girls and my wife and I are happy.

Karl Robinson: I will watch from the stands when Trevor Kettle next referees one of our games

“To have security is the real positive side as a family, I can relax a little bit looking into the summer and start again in pre-season.”

Eastwood's deal comes just six weeks after Stevens signed a new contract, which also commits his future to United until 2024.

U’s head coach Karl Robinson said: “He (Eastwood) is training the best I’ve ever seen him train.

“Him and Jack have got a wonderful relationship, they’re challenging each other all the time.

“That’s something I want to continue.”