Oxford United have completed the signing of Bolton Wanderers right-back Joe Riley on a loan deal until January. The 22 year-old has joined Michael Appleton’s side after spending the majority of the last two seasons on the sidelines due to injury.
Riley made his Wanderers debut at the age of 19 in a cup tie against Macclesfield in August 2011 before starting games against Stoke and West Brom in the Premier League. Having earned great plaudits for his performances, Riley suffered an injury and could only make four further appearances during the season. The 2012/13 season saw just two appearances before the 2013/14 season was a complete write off. Ahead of the upcoming campaign, Riley joined the Trotters tour to Scandinavia as manager Dougie Freedman looked to give some of his younger players a chance to impress. For Riley, this season is perhaps his last chance to impress at Bolton with his contract due to expire in the summer.
A move to Oxford will see the Salford born defender offer competition to David Hunt and Matt Beavans for the right-back position and becomes Appleton’s third summer signing after Michael Collins and George Long. Of his new recruit, the U’s gaffer told the club website:
“He is six-foot tall, he has pace and he uses the ball well. A lot of clubs have been monitoring his career and he has a chance to come here, play games and show everyone what a good player he is.”
Riley is likely to make his first Oxford appearance in Tuesday night’s friendly against Wolves with Appleton hoping to add at least one more signing before kick-off; “We are getting there. There are two or three more players we have been speaking to who we believe would improve us as a group”.