Oxford United players returned for pre-season training as preparation for the club's Championship season begins.

The U's will compete in the second tier of English football for the first time in 25 years after earning promotion through the League One play-offs last season.

Several pre-season friendlies have been arranged for Des Buckinghams's side including a home fixture against Italian side Palermo.

The U’s will take on Oxford City at Court Place Farm on July 19, before a behind-closed-doors friendly with League One side Exeter City five days later.

United will then travel to Mansfield Town on July 27 before hosting Palermo who currently ply their trade in Serie B, and in July 2022, had a majority stake acquired by City Football Group, which operates a host of clubs, including Manchester City.

The fixture will take place on August 3, with a 3pm kick-off. The U’s will then kick-start their Sky Bet Championship campaign at home to Norwich City the following weekend on August 10.

After that opening day fixture on August 10, which currently has a 12.30pm kick-off like the rest of the Championship, the U’s round off the month with trips to Coventry City and Blackburn Rovers, and a home clash with Preston North End.

Early season notable dates include the visit to Liam Manning’s Bristol City on September 21, which precedes back-to-back games against Burnley and Luton Town, both relegated from the Premier League.