OXFORD United have appointed former England No 2 Derek Fazackerley as their new assistant head coach.

The 62-year-old will link up with boss Michael Appleton this morning, as well as another addition to the U’s backroom team, Mark Thomas.

Thomas joins United from Portsmouth as head of performance and recruitment analysis, and will work alongside Dan Bond.

However, it is the arrival of Fazackerley that is a real sign of the club’s intent.

The experienced coach has worked as Kevin Keegan’s No 2 with both England and Newcastle United and is one of the most respected figures in the game.

Fazackerley has also enjoyed spells at Blackburn, Bolton Wanderers and Barnsley, and worked alongside Sven Goran Eriksson at Manchester City.

His most recent jobs have taken him to Leicester City and Birmingham City.

He starts work today with United at their Bisham Abbey pre-season training camp today, alongside Appleton and Mickey Lewis, who will continue his first-team coaching role.

“It is a really exciting challenge,” Fazackerley said.

“Michael Appleton is a good young manager with great ideas about the game and I would love to help him achieve success here at Oxford.

“The club is set-up well, there are young players coming through and the whole club is progressive and ambitious.

“I am looking forward to getting out on the training ground and working with the players as we build towards the new season.”

United chief executive Mark Ashton was excited to have brought such a big name at the club.

“Derek is a genuine football person and we are delighted that he will be joining us,” he said.

“He knows the game inside out and has worked with managers and players of the highest calibre and is hugely respected.

“He has still got that same passion and enthusiasm for the game and we believe that he will be the perfect addition to our existing coaching staff.

“To be able to call on his experience, his contacts within the game and his know-how will be invaluable.”

Thomas was with Appleton at Portsmouth and believes he can make his mark behind the scenes.

He said: “I have worked with Michael before and he fully appreciates the input that we can give him through studying the vast amount of data that we can now supply, not just on our own players but also on the teams we are playing against.

“I have enjoyed my time at Portsmouth, but having spoken with Michael, believe there are exciting times ahead here at Oxford and I am delighted to have joined the club.”

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