AFTER getting a taste of unemployment this summer Luke O’Brien is desperate to make the most of a “massive chance” with Oxford United.

The left back signed a short-term deal last week and could make his U’s debut against Bradford City tomorrow.

O’Brien knows the opponents well after joining the Bantams aged eight, going on to spend 15 years at the club.

But after falling out of manager Phil Parkinson’s plans, the 24-year-old moved to Exeter City in January.

After making just three appearances for the Devon club he was released.

The Yorkshireman spent a demoralising pre-season alongside hundreds of other free agents searching for a club before United made an approach.

He said: “I knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn’t realise it was going to be as hard as it turned out to be.

“I went up to Ross County and did a week of pre-season up there, then I had two weeks at Accrington Stanley and a week at Halifax.

“I’ve been to a few Conference sides since then to earn myself a deal, which didn’t work out, then I got the opportunity to come down here last week.

“When I was offered a deal at Oxford I more or less signed it straight away because this is a massive chance.

“I did get disheartened in the summer, thinking ‘have I become a bad player overnight?’ “My family picked me up and encouraged me to be patient.

“But it was getting worse because I was three or four months without any money coming in.

“I was going into my savings to pay bills, so to get offered something here for a short term straight away I said ‘yes’.”

O’Brien has more than 150 senior appearances to his name and has been brought in to provide cover for Tony Capaldi while Liam Davis recovers from a long-term groin injury.

But the new signing is hoping to be given a chance to prove himself and earn a more permanent contract.

He said: “It’s a short-term deal, but with a view if I do well they’ve said I’d hopefully be offered something longer.

“I’ve got something in writing for a few months, so it’s a bit of stability and I’ve come down here to impress and get Tony out of the way to make that left back spell my own.

“Tony’s obviously done well so at the moment I’m happy to be involved in the squad.”