THE sweeping changes at Oxford United this summer have transformed the atmosphere in the camp, according to skipper Jake Wright.
It is five weeks since a takeover was announced which installed Darryl Eales as chairman.
Mark Ashton was brought in as chief executive and his first decision was to replace head coach Gary Waddock with Michael Appleton.
Since then, the new regime have been busy rebuilding the squad, with five new players signed so far.
And Wright believes it has all had a positive impact on the club ahead of tomorrow’s opener against Burton Albion.
He said: “Last weekend we had the family fun day and it was so positive between the fans and the players.
“It was a really good vibe.
“The staff, the gaffer, the chief executive and the chairman have come in and it’s been really refreshing.
“Everyone is buzzing and wanting to play on Saturday.”
It is a far cry from the end of last season, when United lost 11 of their last 15 game to collapse from a strong position and finish nine points adrift of the play-offs.
It was a low point for Wright, who was playing with an injury and accordingly struggled for form.
The summer break was welcome for the 28-year-old and while he is keen to look forward, the bitter finish will provide a source of motivation this season.
Wright said: “Obviously with how it ended I was one of the first to hold my hand up and say as soon as we weren’t going to make the play-offs I wanted the season to finish.
“I didn’t want to play in those last two or three games, we had nothing to play for and it ended really badly.
“You just wanted to get away from football and refresh yourself.
“That’s what I’ve done, I’m feeling really positive and I’m just looking forward to playing.”
He added: “Last season has gone and we’ve moved on, I don’t really want to speak about it again.
“I want to keep it in the back of my head for fuel to drive me on to ensure we keep going this year.”
Appleton only missed the first week of pre-season, so has had some time to get his ideas across to the players.
While it is a work in progress, the players are well aware of what will be demanded this season.
The centre back said: “We definitely know his views and how he wants to play.
“It takes five or six games to get into it.
“But I think we are in really good shape, everyone likes how he wants to play and we’re enjoying the training.”
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