SHANDON Baptiste has been urged to make sure his new contract is just the start by the head of Oxford United’s youth set-up.

The promising midfielder, who graduated from the club’s under 18s in 2017, has broken into the first team this season.

It saw him rewarded with a four and a half year deal, which was signed on Wednesday.

Dan Harris, head of United’s academy, has been delighted to watch Baptiste’s progress and felt head coach Karl Robinson’s willingness to play youngsters was key.

He said: “A club like Oxford United needs to be at the forefront of moving players through.

“We’ve got a manager that will give young lads an opportunity – I’ve been in this game for 20 years and that’s not always the case.

“I’m really pleased for Shandon. He will be the first to admit he hasn’t done anything yet.

“We want (young players) to look back in ten years and think what they’ve done so far isn’t the highlight of their career.

“He’s on the pathway and has taken some really good steps in the last few weeks.”

The U’s academy have been boosted by the club’s decision to donate the proceeds from the 50/50 draw against Walsall to the youth department.

Winners of the draw will receive tickets to the gala dinner marking United’s 125th anniversary next month instead.

Harris said: “It’s a fantastic lift for us to help us move things forward.

“It’s a chance for every fan going to the game to win tickets and at the same time play their part in supporting the academy move forward.”