JAY Matete will add a ‘different dimension’ to Oxford United’s midfield, reckons head coach Des Buckingham.

The 22-year-old midfielder arrived on loan from Sunderland late on January deadline day, joining with a reputation as a player who excels in the defensive side of the game, but can also link up play further forward.

In July, Matete suffered a knee injury, with his meniscus, during Sunderland’s pre-season.

It ruled him out for five months, but having fully recovered, he is fit and firing, and is available for United’s game at home to Reading this weekend.

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U’s boss Buckingham said: “I’m very happy to have him in the building, he’s a very experienced player. He’s someone that’s shown not just at this level, but a higher level, what he’s capable of doing.

“I think he adds a different dimension to our midfield, to complement what we already have in there.

“He’s very strong and powerful, good one v one, and a defensive type of midfielder, which there are very few of around the league, but also someone that on the ball, can contribute to our attacking play.

“It’s a healthy balance, that whether as a single six, or in combination with one of the other players, will really allow us to do something a little bit different if we need to.

“He’s been fit for a while, but just hasn’t had the game time at Sunderland, but he’s been fit and raring to go.

“We’ve done all of our due diligence, and our medical here. He’s come through that with flying colours.”

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Matete made his professional debut for Fleetwood Town in September 2019, and joined Grimsby Town on loan in January 2021, starting all 20 Sky Bet League Two games he featured in, while finding the net on three occasions.

After impressing for Fleetwood in the first half of the 2021/22 campaign, Sunderland then secured his services, and he appeared as a substitute in both legs of the Black Cats’ League One play-off semi-final victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

He was an unused substitute in the final, when Sunderland won 2-0 against Wycombe Wanderers.

Last season, he featured in eight Championship games for Sunderland, before joining Plymouth Argyle on loan in January, where he made 19 appearances as the Green Army lifted the League One title.

He said: “I’m full of energy and like to get stuck in, and I want to get on the ball as well, and play.

“I like defending, as well as attacking, so I like contributing in all parts of the game.

“It’s been frustrating with my injury, and then coming back with a lack of game time.

“That’s what happened, but I’m here now, and I just want to crack on, and play football, and help the team.

“Oxford have always been pushing and they’ve got a good group of players. They definitely can get promoted this season.

“Not all games are easy, and some games, you have to grind it out and get the three points. Hopefully I can bring some of that, to help the team grind out performances.”