OXFORD United’s bid to sharpen their attack has been boosted by the capture of experienced striker Will Hoskins.

A free agent after being released by Brighton in May, the 28-year-old watched from the stands as the U’s lost 1-0 at home to Portsmouth on Saturday.

He has agreed a one-year deal, with the club retaining the option of a 12-month extension.

Hoskins joins a side who have been unable to turn encouraging performances into results, scoring once in losing all four Sky Bet League Two games this season.

U’s head coach Michael Appleton believes the addition will help solve the problem.

He said: “Will has bags of experience, has scored goals throughout his career and he works ever so hard.

“We have played well in every game so far this season, but not picked up the results and I think anyone who has watched us has seen where we needed to strengthen.

“We have been patient in trying to find the right player and we believe that Will fits the bill perfectly.”

Hoskins came through the ranks at Rotherham, where 16 goals in the first half of the 2006-7 season prompted Watford to swoop and take him into the Premier League.

He dropped down to League One with Bristol Rovers in 2010, scoring 20 goals to earn a £500,000 move to Brighton.

It began an injury-hit three years on the south coast and he has not played a senior game since rupturing cruciate ligaments against Blackburn Rovers in February 2013.

He missed the whole of last season before being released in the summer, but several League One clubs have been interested.

Hoskins was one of the first names mentioned when Appleton arrived at United last month.

And after a long wait, chief executive Mark Ashton, who worked with Hoskins at Watford, is delighted to finally get his man.

He said: “Right at the start of that search I said to Michael that we needed ‘someone like Will Hoskins’, but we knew there was interest from a number of higher league clubs.

“We met Will and explained what we are looking to build here and he really believes in the way we are approaching things.

“We are delighted that he has joined.”

Hoskins is unlikely to feature in tomorrow night’s Capital One Cup game at West Bromwich Albion.

He could make his debut against Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday and Appleton is hopeful his summer recruitment is not yet over.

He said: “Maybe I’ll get a bit greedy and if we can do another one as well we will all be delighted.”

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