CAMERON Brannagan hopes the signing of Jay Matete will allow him to get forward and score more goals for Oxford United.

Sunderland midfielder Matete joined the U’s on loan until the end of the season late on January deadline day.

He fills a void that United have not properly filled since Alex Gorrin suffered the first of two serious knee injuries back in November 2021.

Brannagan sees similarities between Gorrin and new recruit Matete, who made his U’s debut as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw at home to Reading.

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“We’ve played against him quite a bit. He breaks up the play very well, and it’ll release us a little bit more to hopefully get forward and get a few more goals,” said Brannagan.

“He’s a tough competitor, hard to beat, and breaks up play very well. He’s a great addition, so hopefully he can get playing and get up and running.

“A-Rod [Gorrin] was great at that, and Jay’s also good at that. He’ll come in and be that midfielder who breaks up play, and release players like me, Marcus [McGuane] and Ruben [Rodrigues], and hopefully it’ll be good for everyone.”

Matete, who turns 23 on Sunday, emerged at Fleetwood Town and made his Cod Army debut in September 2019.

He then 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 on January deadline day two years ago, agreeing a four-and-a-half-year deal at the Stadium of Light.

That season, 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.

In July, Matete suffered a knee injury, with his meniscus, during Sunderland’s pre-season, and it ruled him out for five months.


Last week, United head coach Des Buckingham said of Matete: “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.”