Oxford United’s new executive chairman says that developing the club’s training methods and injury prevention techniques will be critical to the club’s success.

Ian Lenagan, who is the club’s owner, today replaced Kelvin Thomas as the U’s supremo – Thomas stepping down after four years in charge.

And Lenagan, the chairman of Wigan Rugby League club, says that his experiences in that role will be used to help United, and manager Chris Wilder, win promotion.

"At Wigan Rugby League Club, where I am also chairman, we have paid great attention over the past three years to innovative performance management, fitness & conditioning, injury prevention and rehabilitation, video analysis and the use of the latest sports science technologyto improve the performance of our playing staff,” he said.

“Trophy-winning success followed quickly and continues with Wigan clear leaders at the top of the Super League and Challenge Cup holders.

“I believe that taking a similar approach at Oxford United will also bring success which is why we have invested over the last two months an additional six figure sum in experienced specialist staff and training ground equipment under the guidance of experts in the field."

“Whilst we still have on-going injury problems from last season and cannot solve those overnight, there is no doubt in my mind that Oxford United has the opportunity through this step change in approach at the training ground to improve player availability and performance and to gain competitive advantage in League 2.”

Lenagan revealed that he was due to assume overall responsibility for the club at the end of this season, but potential opportunities elsewhere prompted Thomas to call it a day earlier than planned.

“I am excited about taking up the chairmanship of OUFC and look forward with interest and enthusiasm to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead" Lenagan said.

"Since selling my main software business at the end of last year, I now have more time available and have been taking a more hands-on involvement in Oxford United since the season-end particularly in the sports science, fitness, squad planning, medicaland financial areas.

“This move is a natural progression which had been planned to take place at the end of the current season but which has been brought forward to coincide with Kelvin's recent decision to leave earlier to consider other opportunities abroad."

"I would like to put on record my thanks and appreciation for the excellent job that Kelvin has done as Chairman and Chief Executive for the past four years.

“When I appointed him, the club was in a poor state across many areas and it is largely down to his efforts that Oxford United is in a better position now.”

Thomas added: "I am very proud of what I have achieved in close to four years at Oxford United.

“Ever since the call came from Ian to help out in 2008, I feel like the club has progressed significantly and there have been some tremendous highs along the way.

“I feel strongly that this is the right time for me to make this decision and I am also pleased that Ian is there to step up now and lead the club going forward with me assisting him through a 3-month transitional period."