IT was neat of Oxford United to announce Billy Bodin’s new contract the day before the transfer window opens.

The midfielder was the last remaining player to agree terms, so his two-year deal draws a line under ‘phase one’ of the summer.

United now know which of last season’s squad are contracted for 2022/23, although a lot can change before the window closes at 11pm on September 1.

READ MORE: When every Oxford United player's contract expires

With clubs able to register players with the English Football League (EFL) from today, the next step is bringing in recruits who will add something to the U’s.

New faces across the defence would be a good start, as that is where United are lightest.

The EFL did not respond to a request for clarification on next season’s squad cap rules, but last term's regulations allowed for a maximum of 22 outfield players aged over 21.

United have 18 first-teamers as things stand, although that includes two goalkeepers and Oisin Smyth - who may count as an Under 21 having only turned 22 last month.

It would give the U’s space for seven more outfield players and if I had to fill those spots I would target two full backs, a centre back, a defensive midfielder, two wingers and a striker.

It may be greedy to expect much movement before United begin pre-season in Spain on June 23, even though it is already only 50 days until the start of the Sky Bet League One campaign.

But time is of the essence and United must stay on the front foot.

They negotiated ‘phase one’ of the summer with flying colours and hopefully that sets the tone for the coming weeks.