OWEN Dale says achieving promotion with Oxford United is exactly why he joined the club on January deadline day.

The 25-year-old winger joined the U’s for an undisclosed fee from Blackpool, and at the time, both clubs were in the Sky Bet League One promotion hunt.

United were sixth in the table, on 50 points, and the Seasiders were eighth, with a total of 46 points.

Blackpool fans questioned at the time why the Tangerines sold a player to a direct play-off rival, even if he was in and out of Neil Critchley’s starting line-up.

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For Dale though, the decision to switch sides mid-season has fully paid off, with the U’s winning promotion in the League One play-off final against Bolton Wanderers.

He said: “This is exactly what I came here for. They told me what they wanted to achieve, and I was fully behind it.

“As soon as I got in, I saw the quality of the group. I know we had a tough spell, but the work ethic of this group and the never say die attitude of this group, I’m just over the moon that we got it over the line for the fans, the club, and the boys.

“They thoroughly deserve it, and it’s been an amazing season.”

Oxford Mail:

The Trotters are a team full of attacking talent, with that backed up by the numbers. Ian Evatt’s side scored 121 goals in all competitions this season, a club record.

However, United kept their shape superbly well when they didn’t have the ball, were disciplined in their own third, pressed the ball as and when required, and made important interceptions and blocks when play made its way near their own penalty area.

Dale said: “It was never going to be easy. Bolton are a very good team. We knew we were going to have spells in the game when we were going to be under pressure, but I thought the way we dealt with it was top drawer.

“Our shape was brilliant, and when we had the ball in our spells, I thought we were very good. Murph [Josh Murphy] took his goals brilliantly, but I think man to man, everyone was exceptional.

“What a day for all of us, I’m made up for us. With the work we do behind the scenes, I think we fully deserve it.

“We’ve stuck in there. It’s a special group and I’m honoured to be a part of it.

“It was one of the most special days of my life, and of my career so far. I can’t describe the feeling.”