LIAM Manning hopes Matty Taylor’s exit from Oxford United will allow the club to bring in a different profile of striker.

Earlier this month, United announced that Taylor would not be offered a new deal, allowing the 33-year-old to leave as a free agent when his contract expires in June.

Only eight players have scored more goals for the U’s in the club’s history though, with Taylor having netted 64 times for his hometown club.

The striker struggled this season, scoring just six times across all competitions.

However, only three of his goals came in Sky Bet League One, two of which were in the 4-0 thrashing of Port Vale at the Kassam Stadium in November.

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Taylor then made a shock loan move to fellow League One side Vale late on during transfer deadline day in January.

He scored four goals in 14 appearances for the Valiants, helping the Staffordshire club finish 18th in the third tier, two points and a place above United.

Discussing the decision to not offer Taylor a new deal, U’s head coach Manning told BBC Radio Oxford’s The Dub podcast: “It was really difficult. Obviously, I understand what he’s done for the club, his affiliation with the club and his relationship with the fans.

“I called Matty a week or two after coming in just to touch base.

“I’ve got a huge amount of respect for what he’s done for the club, so it wasn’t an easy call.

“I had a sit down with him the day after the Accy [Accrington Stanley] game – it was a difficult conversation, it’s never easy having that conversation, especially when you know Matty is so emotionally invested in the club.

“I think he appreciated the timing and the honesty, and I’m sure in the future we’ll find a way of making sure he can say goodbye to the fans properly.”

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Looking ahead to the future without Taylor at the club, Manning added: “When you look at lining up what he wants from his career now and what we’re looking for, there was probably a lack of alignment a little bit there.

“It’s an opportunity for him now, he went out to Port Vale and did reasonably well.

“In terms of what it allows us to do, recruiting a profile of someone slightly different to what Matty provides.”

In addition to Taylor, Djavan Anderson and Jodi Jones will also leave United this summer, when their deals also run out next month.

Younger players Slavi Spasov, Kie Plumley, Ben Davis, Yoav Sade and Will Owens will all also exit the club.

Midfielder Alex Gorrin will continue his recovery from a knee injury with the U’s, before any decision is made on his future.

The Spaniard played only 13 times during the 2022/23 season, and last featured as a substitute in the Emirates FA Cup win at Woking back in November.

Gorrin missed a large chunk of the previous after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in November 2021, while at the end of last year, he suffered a similar injury to the other knee.

The latest episode of The Dub is available from Monday afternoon.

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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.