MORE than 30 players pulled on the Oxford United jersey during the 2023/24 season, each playing their own role in the club’s historic promotion.

United beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 in the Sky Bet League One play-off final, ensuring a return to the second tier of English football for the first time in 25 years.

We looked back at all 31 players who represented the U’s in league action in our end of season player ratings. First up, it’s the goalkeepers and defenders.

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James Beadle

The Brighton & Hove Albion loanee played the most of any United keeper, racking up 25 games before his recall in January.

Beadle kept seven clean sheets and was a revelation with his distribution and shot stopping, particularly with his feet.

His consistency was also impressive, especially for someone so young. He almost certainly has a bright future at the top of the game ahead of him.

Rating: 8/10

Jamie Cumming

The 24-year-old arrived from Chelsea in January to replace Beadle, and needed time initially to find his feet.

The 3-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers was a low point, but as the team picked up momentum, Cumming’s confidence grew.

He was brilliant when it mattered most, especially against Peterborough United in the play-off semi-finals.

Rating: 7/10

Oxford Mail: Jamie Cumming claims a ball into his penalty boxJamie Cumming claims a ball into his penalty box (Image: Mike Allen)

Simon Eastwood

Made just two league appearances, firstly coming on as a half-time substitute in the 2-2 draw at home to Portsmouth after Cumming went off with injury.

He was then in goal for the 1-1 draw at home to Reading.

Rating: 4/10


Ciaron Brown

Missed just one game throughout the whole league and play-off campaign, that being the 2-1 defeat at home to Port Vale in September, when Stephan Negru was selected ahead of him.

Otherwise, he started every single league and play-off game, showing incredible consistency, while grabbing five goals too.

A reliable presence at the back, he very rarely puts a foot wrong and will no doubt be a valuable asset in the Championship.

Rating: 9/10

Elliott Moore

The captain’s absence was keenly felt when he did miss out with injury. He was unavailable for seven games this season, and the U’s struggled without his leadership on the pitch.

He was a rock aerially and has taken his ability on the ball to another level, with his quality in playing out from the back.

A huge presence from set pieces, but just two goals to show for it. Although one of them was the winner against Peterborough in the play-off semi-final first leg.

Rating: 9/10

Oxford Mail: Elliott Moore celebrates his goal in the play-off semi-finalsElliott Moore celebrates his goal in the play-off semi-finals (Image: Mike Allen)

Stephan Negru

Didn’t find game time as easily as he would’ve liked, with just 13 appearances in the league, 11 of which were starts.

Brown and Moore are undisputedly in front of him when it comes to the centre back pairing, but for someone who turns 22 during the summer, regular game time will be important to him.

A super talent, next season feels like a big one in his development.

Rating: 5.5/10

Jordan Thorniley

Arrived in the summer with many expecting him to play a key part. In fact, he found himself down the pecking order and played just eight times in the league, and wasn’t even on the bench for the play-off games.

At 27, he’ll want to be playing regularly, especially given the quality he’s got in the locker.

Rating: 5/10


Joe Bennett

An incredible free signing after getting snapped up at the end of November to cover the calf injury suffered by Greg Leigh while he was on international duty.

The 34-year-old ended up being first choice left back, with his experience, knowhow and understanding of the game proving the perfect mix.

It will be a huge blow if the club cannot entice him to stay for at least one more season.

Rating: 8/10

Oxford Mail: Joe Bennett plays the ball forward at WembleyJoe Bennett plays the ball forward at Wembley (Image: Mike Allen)

Greg Leigh

He started his United career on fire after joining from Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee at the end of August.

The Jamaica international scored five goals in his first six league games, and scooped League One’s September player of the month award.

A calf injury between mid-November and mid-January hindered his form, while the switch to a back four somewhat interrupted his natural attacking game.

Rating: 8/10

Sam Long

Played across the backline throughout the season, and never without any fuss. He needed a bit of time to get back to speed after the double whammy of an almost three-month layoff with an ankle injury followed by a nasty concussion upon his return.

His early crunching tackle on Paris Maghoma in the play-off final summarises his game. Brave, committed, and always giving his all.

Rating: 7.5/10

Fin Stevens

Initially looked more comfortable when Liam Manning played a back three, allowing Stevens to operate at wing back.

However, he matured defensively and by the end of the season, his battle with Long for the right back slot was a fascinating one.

Performances while on loan from Brentford have seen him rewarded with a first senior call-up to the Wales side.

Rating: 7.5/10