Oxford United triallists out to shine

Banbury Cake: Alex Evans Alex Evans

CHRIS Wilder says there is a chance at least one of the players on trial will be offered a contract at Oxford United after impressing in the victory against West Ham.

In addition to four summer signings, the U’s fielded six new faces in the 1-0 win at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night.

The majority are free agents after being released earlier this summer, so would not require a fee.

Wilder was pleased with the performances and admitted he was interested.

“Yes, because we have to supplement the squad,” the United manager said.

“We’ve brought Sean (McGinty) and Jake (Forster-Caskey) in on six-month loans, so we possibly might have to bring in another one or two in.”

Injuries to several key players mean Wilder still needs an extra midfielder and someone to provide cover for Damian Batt at right back before the season kicks off at home to Bournemouth on August 14.

Michael Boateng, deemed surplus to requirements by Bristol Rovers, was the only specialist full back in the group, but there were several midfielders on show.

Sean McAllister, who helped Shrewsbury Town to promotion in npower League Two last season, was the most experienced.

Manchester City’s Tom Smith also showed promise in the second half alongside Courtney Harris, who was let go by Fulham.

Ex-Cardiff City centre back Alex Evans made several useful interventions before he was replaced at half time by Southampton’s Ryan Tafazoli.

All are likely to get another chance at Didcot Town tomorrow night (7.45).

Wilder sympathised after going through a similar experience as a player and paid tribute to their mental approach.

He said: “I’ve been in that situation when I was released by Southampton at 19.

“It’s a real test of character, so for them to come in and do well ability-wise, but most importantly with their attitude, I think they deserve a lot of credit.”

  • A PRE-SEASON friendly was abandoned after a nasty clash of heads involving former Oxford United defender Chris Carruthers.

The 28-year-old, who was on trial at Hereford United, needed several stitches after colliding with teammate Greg Tindle at Evesham.

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