Oxford United goalkeeper Ryan Clarke has signed a new three-and-a-half year contract, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2014.

The 28-year-old, who joined the U’s from Northwich Victoria in the summer of 2009, was a key member of the team that won promotion last season.

His contract still had another 18 months to run, but United moved to offer him a new deal, and he was delighted to accept.

“It was a bit of a no-brainer really,” he said. “It never crossed my mind to say no.

“I’m enjoying my football – I think that’s showed in some of the performances.

“The main reason I’ve signed is that we won promotion last year and I think we can go up again.”

And Clarke says everyone at Oxford United is looking up.

“We’re all pushing in an upwards direction,” he said.

“We’ve got a manager that’s not happy to sit in League Two, he wants to kick on, he’s started to get the best out of me, and he knows how to get the best out of us as a group of players.

“We’re in a good run of form at the moment, we’ve got to carry that on for as long as possible, and who knows, by the end of the season, we might not be worrying about that little bad run we had!”

Born in Bristol, Clarke began his career with Bristol Rovers, and had spells on loan at Kidderminster, Southend and Forest Green.

He became Salisbury’s first-choice keeper in 2006 and played more than 100 times for them, before being loaned out to Northwich.

Oxford signed him in May 2009 and he instantly became United’s regular No 1, taking over from Billy Turley.

Clarke kept a record-breaking 22 clean sheets in 46 league appearances in his first season at the Kassam Stadium, and was also voted Player of the Year by United’s fans.

U’s manager Chris Wilder said: “Ryan is an excellent goalkeeper who could easily be playing at a higher level.

“It is vitally important that the football club keeps its best players as we look to progress, and Ryan is, without doubt, one of the best keepers in this division and probably the one above.”

Clarke added: “I’ve been very happy in my time with Oxford.

“It’s a big club with big ambitions and, as an ambitious player myself, I want to be involved.

“I feel that I’ve improved since I’ve been here, thanks largely to the excellent coaching I’ve received from Alan Hodgkinson, and I think that at 28 years old I can still get better, and I’m very happy to do so at Oxford.”