WITH the dust still settling after a fairly busy January transfer window for Oxford United, it’s the perfect time to have a look at United’s ins and outs, and where it leaves the side going into the final few months of the season.

The U’s made six signings (seven if you include Joe Bennett), two first team players made exits, and there were four loan recalls. Although one of them, Kyle Edwards, then signed permanently.

League One transfer tracker: All the January deals in the third tier

Let’s start in goal then. James Beadle was recalled by Brighton & Hove Albion, before switching to Sheffield Wednesday in the second tier, with Jamie Cumming snapped up on loan from Chelsea, to replace him.

Losing Beadle was a huge blow for United, but Cumming arrived with a good reputation and healthy relationship with goalkeeping coach Lewis Price, having worked with him at MK Dons.

Cumming looked a little shaky in the defeat at Bristol Rovers, but that one game aside, he should be a strong replacement for Beadle.

After one out and one in between the posts, Ed McGinty returned to former club Sligo Rovers, in order to get some essential game time.

Despite the knock picked up by Cumming against Portsmouth in midweek, McGinty looks set to stay at Sligo, rather than be recalled.

In defence, the only change has been the longer deal handed to Bennett. He proved to be a solid acquisition on a short-term contract, and thoroughly deserved the fresh deal signed this month.

The battle for the left back slot between Bennett and Greg Leigh will be fascinating, and don’t be surprised if we see Bennett at full back, and Leigh on the wing at some point.

Alex Gorrin was another player on a short-term deal, and with it coming to an end, he took up an offer from Sky Bet League Two side Forest Green Rovers, in the search for regular minutes.

An immensely popular figure at the training ground, and among the fanbase, Gorrin thoroughly deserved his shot at regular football, after a painful couple of seasons with two nasty knee injuries.

It’s a player of his ilk that has been absent from the U’s, but that may have changed following the deadline day capture of Sunderland midfielder Jay Matete.

The 22-year-old appears to tick all the relevant boxes, and with successive League One promotions at Sunderland and Plymouth Argyle on his CV, he also boasts know-how in getting out of the third tier.

United supporters have been calling for a midfield enforcer ever since Gorrin suffered his first knee injury, and if Matete can get up to speed quickly, he will surely be the exact type of player that’s been missing from the jigsaw.

Out wide, Edwards and Stan Mills returned to their parent clubs. Edwards then had his Ipswich Town contract terminated by mutual consent, prior to signing a deal until the end of the season with the U’s.

A hamstring injury means he is likely only going to play the final handful of games for United this season, however what a player he is to have up your sleeve.

We know Edwards has got plenty of talent, and he’s the sort of player who is likely to win a game with a special moment – something that will be key during the run-in.

Mills meanwhile suffered a terrible injury at Coventry City, and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

He had been performing regularly and reliably while on loan from Everton, and his absence has been keenly felt this month.

However, U’s head coach Des Buckingham was intent on bringing in pace and quality out wide, and he has managed to do that with the additions of Tyler Burey and Owen Dale.

Burey showed against Portsmouth in midweek that he is quick. Dangerously quick. He’ll get the team up the pitch in no time, and allow United to stretch opponents and get out on the counter-attack.

Dale played mainly as a wing back for Blackpool this season, but he is very much a winger. That’s where he’s spent the vast majority of his career, and while he’s probably not as quick as Burey, he’ll provide quality on the ball with his crossing and ability to cut inside.


Finally, that leaves up front. The least surprising moment of the window was Sonny Perkins being recalled by Leeds United.

His time at Grenoble Road quite simply did not work out. His game time was limited to just six games in all competitions, which included five minutes of league football.

What the U’s have brought in though is a striker who should offer the team different options, and a different way of playing.

It’s been stressed that Will Goodwin is not just a target man, something he himself, and Buckingham, have said.

While he’ll run the channels and bring the ball to feet, his height does provide United the potential to play longer, and perhaps more crucially, show more of a threat from set pieces.

THE VERDICT: Loan recalls meant the U’s had to find replacements for Beadle and Mills, something they appear to have done well.

It’s the additions of Matete and Goodwin which provide the most intrigue though.

A destroyer in the middle of the park, who can also play a bit too, and a traditional target man striker, were two things that United did not have before the window opened.

They do now though, and those signings might just be the difference in the hunt for promotion this season.