Manager Darren Patterson believes Oxford United's glamorous pre-season friendlies will be "great occasions" for the club.

And he thanked the work that director Jim Smith and chairman Nick Merry had put in to make the attractive fixtures against a Manchester United XI on July 26 and Portsmouth on August 4 possible.

"It will be nice for our players to pit themselves against high quality players and it's great for the whole club to get games like this," Patterson said.

"I have to say a big thanks to the chairman and Jim because we wouldn't have got them without them, especially Jim.

"The whole pre-season is now very well structured.

"The teams below our league that we will be playing will be very competitive, there are good tests against the ones from above us, Wycombe and Cheltenham, and then we finish against Portsmouth's first team. It's a well-balanced pre-season."

Tickets for the Manchester United XI and Portsmouth games are unlikely to go on sale before Oxford United's season-ticket deadline on Friday, July 4.

Oxford United could be facing their former centre forward Rob Duffy next season.

Blue Square Premier new boys Kettering are understood to be keen to sign the Welsh striker if they fail to land ex-Leicester City's Kettering-born forward, Trevor Benjamin, who has been released by Hereford United.

The Poppies tried to get Duffy, who played for them three years ago, on loan from Oxford before he went to Wrexham last season.