OXFORD United missed out on signing a striker in the summer, head coach Des Buckingham has revealed.

The U’s snapped up Mark Harris following his exit from Sky Bet Championship side Cardiff City, and then added Sonny Perkins on loan from Leeds United.

Meanwhile, club legend Matty Taylor left as a free agent after not being offered a new contract, and loanee Kyle Joseph returned to Swansea City, before then moving to Blackpool for an undisclosed fee.

The Oxford Mail understands that summer reports of a £400,000 bid being knocked back for Jack Marriott, who at the time was with Fleetwood Town, were accurate.

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In only managing to bring in Harris and Perkins though, it left United still light on options up front, with just Gatlin O’Donkor the other recognised centre forward.

The U’s however did manage to bring in Will Goodwin in last month’s transfer window, for a reported £400,000 from Cheltenham Town.

The 21-year-old arrived with a minor quad problem, and has yet to feature for his new club due to the injury.

Goodwin though is set to make his United debut when the side makes the trip to fellow League One play-off hopefuls Blackpool this weekend.

Now with Goodwin, Harris and O’Donkor at his disposal, Buckingham is looking forward to using different options in the final third between now and the end of the season.

He said: “It was something in the summer that the club was pretty open about, that it was a position we missed out on.

“Not a replacement for Mark, but a supplement and some additional support to him, whether it’s with him or in place of him, or whether it’s within games.

“The ability to mix it up is going to be important. We see that with other teams, especially teams towards the top, they have the ability to do that. Will coming back will certainly give us that.”


Harris meanwhile grabbed his 12th goal of the season in all competitions, when he opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw at home to Reading on Saturday.

After an 11-match goalless run to end 2023, the Welsh striker has hit form in 2024, with six goals in his first eight games of the calendar year.

Buckingham said: “He shot into double digits the other week, which is great, and he keeps finding himself in those areas, to finish off the moves.

“There’s a good bit of work that goes on around him, that allows him to stay in more central areas now.

“If he can continue doing that, he can continue getting those types of chances, and I’m sure that goal tally will increase.”