Oxford United have seen some new, and old, faces join the club during the transfer window.
After losing loanees Stanley Mills, Kyle Edwards and James Beadle, Des Buckingham brought in Chelsea goalkeeper Jamie Cumming and Odense winger Tyler Burey on loan, while Cheltenham striker Will Goodwin arrived on a long-term deal.
Joe Bennett will stay until the end of the season after originally signing a short-term deal until the end of January while Edwards returned to the club following his release from Ipswich, but won’t be available until April due to injury.
Sonny Perkins also returned to his parent club following a disappointing loan spell before Alex Gorrin joined Forest Green. Goalkeeper Ed McGinty also returned to his former club Sligo Rovers on loan.
What Else Do Oxford United Need in the Transfer Window?
Despite the arrival of Burey and Goodwin, Oxford United remain in the market for more attacking players. The U’s head coach has stated he still wants “two more forwards. Ideally a centre forward and a wide right forward.”
When Josh Murphy, Marcus Browne and Edwards return from injury, Buckingham has several left-sided wingers at his disposal, with Tyler Goodrham and Burey also playing off the left. While they can play on the opposing flank, the U’s are looking for someone who can fit more naturally.
In terms of a striker, Buckingham has Mark Harris and Goodwin, while it looks likely youngster Gatlin O’Donkor will be sent out on loan. Despite the two strikers, a third could be vital if the U’s are to continue their promotion push.
At times this season, Oxford have been overrun and outplayed in the middle of the park. Despite having arguably two of the best ball-playing midfielders in League One in Cameron Brannagan and Marcus McGuane, they aren’t getting up the pitch enough.
The arrival of Josh McEachran in the summer felt like this could help the duo in the attacking areas but the former Chelsea man has struggled for game time.
At the top of the midfield is Ruben Rodrigues. Playing his best football behind the lone striker has produced the goods but with the injuries to several wingers, he has spent plenty of time in the wide areas and failed to make as big an impact.
Buckingham needs a reliable defensive midfielder to provide cover to the back four and help the likes of Brannagan, McGuane and Rodrigues to pick pockets of space, make runs and find passes in the final third.
With Sam Long and Joe Bennett both picking up injuries in the defeat against Barnsley on Tuesday night, it leaves Buckingham light in both full-back positions again.
Brentford loanee Fin Stevens has done a good job in the absence of Long while Bennett has filled in exceptionally with Greg Leigh missing through injury. Fortunately, Leigh is back but the injuries have left Oxford short.
Yes, Ciaron Brown can play on the left and Oisin Smyth has covered on the right but should Stevens be recalled or Leigh pick up another knock, the U’s could find themselves in big trouble.
The other issue is that due to the lack of wingers, the head coach has played with wing-backs, meaning the demand is greater than when playing with a back four. Rotation could be key in the promotion run-in.