SAM Long has become the second Oxford United player in four days to sign a new contract.

Like Simon Eastwood last Thursday, the Bicester-born right back has agreed a three-year deal to keep him at the U’s until 2024.

It will extend the 26-year-old’s association with United beyond two decades, having joined the club aged eight.

Since making his debut in a 3-0 win at Accrington Stanley on April 27, 2013, Long has overcome injuries, loans and long spells out of the side to become a regular starter.

Read also: Simon Eastwood signs three-year contract

The defender has been one of United’s top performers this season, racking up 38 appearances, and is determined to keep improving.

He said: “I’ve been through a lot of lows in my career so far, but now I’m looking forward to hopefully having a few highs.

“It has been tough, I’ve had to prove myself to a lot of people to get to the point where I’m playing every week.

“I’m enjoying it and not taking it for granted.

“I know if I don’t perform there’ll be people wanting to get in my spot.

“I know I need to keep performing like I am and keep pushing on.”

Long signed a two-year contract last June, after playing 32 times to help the U’s reach the Sky Bet League One play-off final.

Read also: Karl Robinson on 'manager's dream' Sam Long

He has been even more important to United this season, bringing up 100 appearances for the club last November, and is delighted to have the security of a long-term deal.

Long said: “It takes a bit of pressure off on that side, but it lets me focus more on playing week-in, week-out and trying to get the best results for the club.

“The three-year contract is long especially at League One level, so I’d like to think I’ve done well to earn that.

“I’m looking forward to the next three years and what it can potentially bring.”

Goalkeeper Jack Stevens also signed a three-year deal in February, while United are still in talks with left back Josh Ruffels, who is out of contract this summer.

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Karl Robinson, who has given Long 96 of his 122 appearances, is aiming to bring some continuity to the U's defence by tying down key men.

The U’s head coach said: “We didn’t want to go into the last year (of his contract) being a little bit unsure.

“He’s done more than enough to deserve a contract at that length.

“Easty, Long and the other one I want to get done gives us stability in that back five.

“Over the last few years we’ve found it difficult with Nels (Curtis Nelson) and (Rob) Dickie moving on.

“It takes its toll on the recruitment team, so stability in that back line is a real strong part of our make-up for next season.”