The new Oxford United supporters’ player of the year, Ryan Clarke, thanked the fans for his award, but says he’s hoping for an even bigger prize to crown the season.

The 6ft 3in goalkeeper, who picked up the Andrew Knapton Trophy before the U’s beat Wrexham 1-0, pipped leading scorer James Constable and popular midfielder Sam Deering to the award in his first season at the club.

Clarke, who celebrates his 28th birthday next week, said: “So far, it couldn’t have gone any better. I’ve been in good form, and so has the team, and we’re in good form at just the right time.

“I knew there were big boots to fill with Billy (Turley) being here for five years, and the type of lad he is, and he’s still up there with the best keepers in this league.”

Clarke, who joined the U’s from Northwich Victoria last summer, has kept 23 clean sheets this season, and Turley added to that with one when he took over against Wrexham.

Clarke added: “It’s gone well on the clean sheets front, and I’d like to think I’ve kept the mistakes down to a minimum on costing us goals this year.

“There have been a few players who have done well, like Sammy and Beano, but everybody’s chipped in with what we’ve achieved this season.”

But he admitted there’s a bigger target ahead.

“No disrespect, but the supporters’ player of the year award is in the back of my mind at the moment.

“The big thing I want, and the big prize, is promotion, which we all want.

“The supporters have been fantastic with me since I came down and it would be a good way to repay them.”

This is not the first fans’ award he has collected.

“I had it at Salisbury, and young player of the pear at Bristol Rovers . . . a nice little hat-trick. But this is probably the most memorable one.”

* Oxford United have sold an incredible 4,500 tickets for their home play-off match in just 48 hours.

And there are still around 2,000 season ticket holders who have yet to secure their seat for the Bank Holiday Monday (May 3) clash.