SAM Baldock has signed a two-year contract with Oxford United, after his short-term deal with the club expired at the end of the season.

The striker initially signed as a free agent in February, after leaving Derby County.

He suffered a knee injury less than a month after his United debut, however made a big impression at the club, scoring four goals in seven games.

The 33-year-old struck up an immediate relationship with Matty Taylor in a 3-4-1-2 formation, as Karl Robinson’s side pushed for a play-off place in Sky Bet League One.

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Baldock, who grew up a U’s supporter, said Robinson’s influence was key to him signing a new deal with United.

Head coach Robinson worked with the forward briefly at MK Dons, after taking over the managerial reins at Stadium MK in May 2010.

Baldock would spend one full season under Robinson, before joining West Ham United in August 2011.

In that 2010/11 campaign, Baldock netted 14 times in 34 appearances, as the Dons reached the play-off semi-finals in the third tier, but ultimately lost out 4-3 on aggregate to Peterborough United.

On linking up with Robinson, and extending his time with the U’s, Baldock said: “I walked through the door back in February and it felt like the right place straight away.

“The badge has always had a special place in mine and my family’s hearts ever since it was the first club we watched live at the Manor.  

“Having previously worked under the gaffer, I knew I wanted to play for him again – he got the best out of me earlier in my career and I hope that can happen again.

“I want to thank the gaffer, the staff and my teammates for making the last few months so enjoyable and I’m already looking forward to next season.

“We have a strong squad that I firmly believe is capable of achieving something special for this club.  

“The fans have been great and I am sure will continue to support this team and help us in our goal to gain promotion.” 

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Robinson added: “He’s not just a really good player, Sam is also a tremendous character, a winner and a leader.

“He fits in so well with what we are building here and clearly understands what it means to pull on the yellow shirt.

“After three years of going close, this year is all about mentality and there are certain non-negotiables. Some players will leave as a result, but Sam will certainly fit in with it straight away. 

“The fans took to him immediately and I am sure they will be just as excited to see him sign as we are.”

Earlier this month, Robinson outlined Baldock – as well as Billy Bodin – as players he wanted to retain at the club.

“I want Billy Bodin here, Sam Baldock is obviously somebody else I want here,” Robinson said.

“Those are players I know I want for next season, that’s a positive.”