OXFORD United are in negotiations with Joe Bennett regarding a longer deal for the left back.

The 33-year-old defender signed for the U’s at the end of November, agreeing a contract through until the close of this month.

He was brought to the club in order to help minimise the impact of losing fellow left back Greg Leigh to injury, after the Jamaica international picked up a calf problem while representing his country.

Bennett has played eight games for United since joining, with five of those being starts in Sky Bet League One.

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Asked whether the club is looking to provide a longer contract to the defender, U’s head coach Des Buckingham said: “We’ve made no secret of that, we’re speaking with him.

“He wants to stay, I want him to stay, and we’ve said for a while now with him, so hopefully that’s just a case of getting there with him at some point soon.”

Bennett has been a calming influence on the left-hand side of United’s defence, bringing both quality on the ball and defensive know-how when out of possession.

The New Year’s Day win at Charlton Athletic saw Bennett complete 90 minutes for the fifth consecutive game, a feat made impressive by the fact he had been without a club since his contract at Wigan Athletic expired in the summer and he had been without a team until signing for United.

Buckingham said: “That was his fifth consecutive 90 minutes, and he’s someone that didn’t have a pre-season and only trained for two weeks coming into this Christmas period, so for him to do what he’s just done, and back up the 90 minutes and performances, I’m extremely pleased with him.”

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Bennett himself was asked whether he wanted to remain with the U’s following the 3-2 defeat at home to Derby County on December 29.

He responded: “I want to stay, it’s a good club and a team that are looking to go up, and we’ve got a good squad.

“I don’t see why, if the manager wants me to stay, I can’t do that, and I’d be happy to do that.”

Bennett began his career at Middlesbrough, making 92 appearances in all competitions, before joining Premier League side Aston Villa in August 2012, for what was a reported fee at the time of £2.5 million.

His four-year stint at Villa Park included loan spells with the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion, AFC Bournemouth and Sheffield Wednesday.

He then joined Cardiff City in the Championship, playing 177 times for the Bluebirds, before signing for Wigan in August 2021.

Bennett spent two years at the DW Stadium, and played 16 times for the club last season prior to leaving in the summer following the expiration of his two-year contract.