LIAM Manning admits players will have to be moved on from Oxford United this summer as he looks to build a side capable of competing at the right end of the table.

The U’s finished the 2022/23 season with a 2-1 defeat at home to Accrington Stanley, leaving them 19th in Sky Bet League One.

Manning now faces his first transfer window as United head coach, allowing him the opportunity to bring in players that he believes will be a good fit for the club, while also getting rid of anyone he no longer feels is required.

READ ALSO: Our player ratings as Oxford United end the season with a defeat

The 37-year-old revealed that conversations with regard to summer plans have already started and that the U’s face a challenging few months ahead.

“I’ve had meetings with the head of recruitment [Ed Waldron], and with Grant [Ferguson, chairman] and Tim [Williams, chief executive], and the senior leadership group,” said Manning.

“I’ll take a week away but ultimately we’ve got a lot of work to do on and off the pitch to make sure that we have the right culture, we’re driving the right standards and that we get the right players in ready to compete at the right end of the table next season.

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“There’s still a lot of work to do, some players have shown that they’re all in for the club and that’s going to be really important.

“There’ll be some players that we need to move on and that’s inevitable at any football club. There’ll be a large amount of work done this summer.

“I’ve got conversations to have with the players and then it’s a case of following that up to see what the situation is. We’ll be working like crazy to get it right.”

Manning admitted that telling players they are no longer needed is a difficult process, however is a part of the game in order to make progress and improve on the pitch.

He said: “It’s not nice in terms of delivering that message but at the same point we’re in an industry and I want a culture, and to be successful.

“I want the club to be successful and I want the team to be successful, so we have to have people that fit that profile.

“Players that can step up in the key moments and deliver, players that have the right quality, whether it be physically, technically or tactically.

“We have to have people that the second they put on the shirt and step on the pitch, they’re ready to deliver and win games.

“I’ve had a good opportunity up until now to have a real assessment of the group.”

Asked whether the coaching staff would also be an area under consideration for possible changes in the summer, Manning said: “All the staff have been terrific since we came in, they’ve got behind us and supported us in terms of delivering quite an intense programme.

“We’ll go away and look at that side of things, and have discussions of what the direction is and what decisions we need to make, to make sure we’re going in the right direction.”

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here:

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.