Oxford United boss Darren Patterson said last night that Yemi Odubade has been taken off the transfer list because he's now "putting in a shift" every game.

And he revealed how the 23-year-old striker's scintillating form during April has transformed him from an unlikely starter to one of the first names on the manager's teamsheet.

The fans' player of the year in 2006-7, Odubade looked to be on his way out of the club after he was transfer-listed, along with Eddie Hutchinson, Alex Jeannin, Carl Pettefer and Joel Ledgister, earlier in the year following a dip in his performances.

But he has knuckled down and, like right-sided midfielder Eddie Anaclet, grasped the opportunity when it was given to him.

The former Eastbourne Borough striker struck three goals in four games at the end of the season to finish as United's 11-goal top scorer, and he made all three goals in the final match, a 3-1 win at Ebbsfleet.

Patterson said: "I think being transfer-listed gave Yemi a shock. And fair play to him, he has buckled down, worked on his fitness and come back looking sharp and dangerous.

"The big question now is whether he can continue into next season. He deserves a chance to be here and to show us that he can maintain that commitment and effort over a longer period.

"There have been spells this season where he has let his standards slip. He knows that and we will work together to get the best out of him.

"If he does, then we know his pace will always trouble opponents and if he adds a level of consistency to that, then he will be a big asset."

Patterson said that, as it happened, Odubade was the last of the players to be seen on Monday night when he talked individually to all those who were out of contract or transfer-listed.

"It was not by choice, it was just the way it turned out, but he was the last one we saw," said United's manager.

"We talked him through the season and we told him howhe's done so well that in the last couple of weeks, he's been one of the first names on my teamsheet and that's down to the boy himself."

Odubade and Anaclet both appear to have had a new lease of life thorugh being very positive and determined to seize their chance.

But they need to keep performing, Patterson insisted.

"They've got to do it - I'm not going to suffer anybody who doesn't," he said.

"They know what I'm about now, know the standards that I've set and that I'm actually going to improve on next year.

"I'm very, very pleased with the end of the season, winning nine out of 11 is a fantastic run - I don't even know if Aldershot have done that this year. It is an incredible run, especially with the squad of players that we have.

"However, I don't look any further than the league. I know what drives me and what expectations I have.

"The players have got to do it. They've got to grow up, they've got to be men, with the ball and without it, they've got to put a proper shift in.

"When Yemi and Eddie do both of those, you can see how effective they are. They are good players and can be a massive asset for us next season. If they don't, they won't be in the team.

"But they know that, because they're grasping the nettle now."