MARVIN Johnson was briefly a target for Oxford United late in the January transfer window, caretaker boss Derek Fazackerley has confirmed.

The winger's 12-month stay with the U's ended on deadline day in August, when he departed for Middlesbrough in a £2.5million move.

But Johnson has fallen out of favour on Teesside since Tony Pulis was appointed last month, making just two brief substitute appearances.

And with FIFA rules preventing anyone playing for three clubs in a season, a loan move back to United was the only viable option.

Fazackerley revealed the 27-year-old was on their radar this week, but United quickly moved on.

He said: "There was definitely an enquiry made and we got a polite no.

"From our point of view I think it would have been a good opportunity, but things didn’t work out the way we would have wanted.

"It was put to bed quite early, so it didn’t distract us too much."

Deadline day turned out to be a low-key affair at United, with Todd Kane's loan from Chelsea the only signing made.

But the fact no-one left the club was a significant positive, after Simon Eastwood, Ryan Ledson and Joe Rothwell had all been linked with moves.

Fazackerley was delighted United stood firm on deadline day.

He said: "I don’t think it’s a secret there were two or three of our players courted by other clubs.

"The club were adamant all along they wanted to keep those players and it’s a good thing we’ve done that.

"It’s a difficult time of year with the window, but the club have managed to withstand the pressure from other clubs and hopefully now we can go to the end of the season and just concentrate on the football."

On additional options to bring players in late in the window, Fazackerley said: "We were quite specific on what we wanted to do in terms of strengthening the squad if we could.

"There were opportunities we turned down.

"There could have been another couple if the right type of player had cropped up, but they didn’t at that time.

"So we felt it was best to leave well alone and go with the players we’ve got."