OXFORD United must find goals from all over the pitch next season and not just via the strikers, head coach Liam Manning has warned.

Midfielder Cameron Brannagan was United’s top goalscorer in all competitions during the 2022/23 campaign, finishing the season with 12 goals to his name.

He was closely followed by Kyle Joseph and Billy Bodin, who netted 10 and nine times respectively.

Matty Taylor scored six times – three in Sky Bet League One – prior to his January deadline day loan move to Port Vale, but no other player managed more than five goals.

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The U’s are currently light on recognised options to play up front, with Taylor set to leave the club this summer and only Sam Baldock and Gatlin O’Donkor the out and out strikers available ahead of the summer transfer window opening.

Baldock has struggled with fitness problems for well over a year, while O’Donkor is only 18 therefore it is unlikely he will be called upon to lead the line for an entire season.

The likes of Bodin, Marcus Browne and Yanic Wildschut all played as a striker for United during the recent campaign, but again it is doubtful they would regularly play through the middle.

While a striker is still a priority signing, Manning is keen to see the goals fly in from all over the pitch.

In fact, the contribution from defenders totalled just 11 goals last season.

Sam Long bagged himself three goals, while Ciaron Brown and John Mousinho netted two apiece.

Stuart Findlay, Elliott Moore and Steve Seddon finished the campaign with just one goal, as did Djavan Anderson, however his strike came in the 3-1 win at Bolton Wanderers – a game in which he played as a winger.

Manning pinpointed the example of Moore, when stressing the importance of goals coming from further back and not just who is playing up front.

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He said: “The fact the nine shirt isn’t allocated at the moment tells you everything.

“It’s not just the nine, I think if you’re too dependent on one player scoring 20 plus goals and then you lose them and they’re injured, you’re in trouble.

“Throughout the team, we have to have people that can score goals, whether it be your wide players or your 10s.

“Someone like Elliott Moore shouldn’t be finishing the season with one goal.

“For someone as dominant as him in the air, he should be getting five goals so I’ll get on at him about doing that next season.

“For me, it’s getting multiple players that can score and execute in key moments during the game.

“We’ve got to make sure we get the right people in that can contribute.”