NEW Oxford United boss Chris Wilder is determined to make Oxford United a force again.

The former Halifax manager, who was appointed yesterday at an early-morning press conference, beat off several other bigger-name candidates, including John Ward and Mark Cooper, after greatly impressing in the two interviews he had.

United chairman Kelvin Thomas says he knows there may be a mixed reaction from fans, as it's not the ‘box office’ name that some may have wanted.

But he's convinced he's got the right man, because Wilder was the most professional of all the candidates that were interviewed.

Jim Smith signed off as caretaker-manager with a 1-1 draw at home to Stevenage on Saturday, and Wilder, who takes training for the first time today, believes he has what it takes to make United into a force to be reckoned with.

"There's no doubt my work ethic will be second to none in terms of wanting to move this club forward,” he said.

"I'm hands-on on the training ground, I'm very much a man-manager in terms of trying to get the best out of individuals and then trying to get the best out of the team.

"I think I'm very pro-active on the sidelines, looking to change things, not just sitting back and letting things happen.”

Wilder had been manager at Halifax for six years, leading them to the Conference play-off final one season, and had made the Shaymen a competitive force despite having to work under severe financial restraints.

This season he has been at Bury, as No 2 to Alan Knill, and together they have taken the Shakers to second place in League Two.

"I've been through every experience that you can imagine at Halifax Town,” he said.

“Basically, it was building something up from nothing, going without wages, no training ground, no kit, no players, no pre-season friendlies, losing players for £50, and then building it up again, gaining momentum, getting to the play-off final and then getting done in the last ten minutes.

“And obviously there was the other side of it, in having about six chairman in five years, and the situation in the summer.

“I think people realise the restraints I was working under, and I think I've got a decent name at this level.

“It's now up to me top produce a team the supporters are proud of and can get behind, and hopefully we can do that."

Wilder added: “It's a great opportunity for me, I think I can be good for Oxford United, and Oxford United can be good for me.

"I've kept my eye on this job because I really wanted it.

"Bury was a good situation for me, in that I learned an assistant manager's role, but I've always wanted to go back to being a No 1.

"I would say there were only one or two clubs outside the Football League that I would have been interested in, and this was one of them.”

Some supporters may question the appointment, wondering Chris Who?

"I wouldn't say that because in the Conference scene, people know what I did at Halifax, and I've had 25 years as a player in the League and I've become known because I'm used to winning games.

"It's up to me to get a team to prove to the fans what a capable manager I am.

"It's a difficult job, but not an impossible job. This club is in possibly its lowest position, it has bottomed out, and with a few fresh ideas, I can take it upwards.”