9:30am Thursday 8th May 2014
By David Pritchard
GARY Waddock says his focus today will be on addressing the future of Oxford United’s players, before he begins work on finding a replacement for Andy Melville.
The U’s head coach will hold individual meetings with the first-team squad to reveal who is in his plans for next season.
But his list of summer tasks grew longer yesterday, with Melville resigning after five years on the coaching staff.
The former Wales defender, who played 159 games for the U’s, said: “I’ve worked with some tremendous people and it has been a privilege to work at the club.
“I now feel that the time is right to move on.
“I don’t have a specific job out there to go to, but I would like the opportunity to take stock and see what is available.”
It came as a surprise to Waddock, who will complete the player interviews before putting some thought into who will succeed Melville.
He said: “It’s come out of the blue and we are obviously sad to see him go.
“Andy was very supportive when I came in and hopefully he continues in the game.
“My priority at the moment is the players and sorting that out first.”
Waddock has made it clear changes are needed following a disastrous collapse, which cost the U’s a place in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.
While he has hinted there some players on longer deals are surplus to requirements, the first task will be to decide which players out of contract this summer are offered the chance to stay.
The group includes captain Jake Wright and top scorer James Constable, who is one goal shy of equalling United’s all-time scoring record.
Waddock, whose only success in eight games since taking over was a 2-0 win at Plymouth, admitted it was a difficult part of the job, but is adamant changes are needed.
He said: “Nothing’s ever personal, it can’t be because at the end of the day and I’ve already said it to the group, they are a good group of people.
“They’ve had an opportunity to show the club how good they are.
“All it boils down to is somebody’s opinion and whether they deserve a contract or not.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve not been best pleased with the performances, apart from the Plymouth one.”
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