With the season opener just 24 hours away, Oxford United look in a much better position than they did three weeks ago. Michael Appleton has made 5 signings in addition to predecessor Gary Waddock’s signing of Danny Hylton and the U’s fans can look forward to seeing how his new arrivals fit into the squad at the Kassam Stadium.
The most recent players through the arrivals door are former Fleetwood winger Junior Brown and young Norwich striker Carlton Morris.
Brown has signed a one year deal after ending last season on loan at Tranmere Rovers. The 25-year-old began his career at Crewe Alexandra but only made one appearance before spending a season each at FC Halifax Town and Northwich Victoria. He joined Fleetwood in the summer of 2010 and went on to make over 100 appearances for the ‘Cod Army’ during which he helped them to promotion from the Football Conference. During the 2013/14 season, Brown made 30 appearances for Gary Alexander’s side before joining Tranmere Rovers on loan in March. He couldn’t help prevent Rovers from being relegated and returned to Fleetwood after the expiry of his loan.
Appleton told the U’s official Website: “Junior is fast and direct and has an eye for goal. He is a player who I think will excite the fans and he will give us balance on that left hand side.”
Brown is looking forward to working with his new head coach: “He plays a nice style of attractive football… He has managed at some big clubs, is ambitious and he knows this club has everyone in and around it to take it to the next level.”
Morris joins on a six month loan from Championship side Norwich City after coming through the youth ranks at Carrow Road. The 18-year-old was an influential figure in the ‘Canaries’ FA Youth Cup winning side of 2012/13 and was subsequently awarded a two and a half-year professional contract. On his chance to make his competitive debut, Morris said “My aims are to play well, get goals and get Oxford as far up League Two as I can. I’m just looking forward to showing what I can do and get my name out there.”
Appleton remarked “Carlton had a number of clubs looking at him and I think it speaks volumes for Oxford United that he has chosen to come here when other clubs were chasing his service. He is big and strong, technically very good, and he is a decent finisher so we are excited to have him here.”
With Morris’ arrival, young striker Tyrone Marsh has joined Conference National side Welling on loan until January to allow him to get some game time after making just 14 appearances in the last two seasons.
Both Brown and Morris will make the squad for the U’s season opener against Burton Albion alongside fellow new signings George Long, Joe Riley and Michael Collins. One other new face who could make the squad is first year professional James Roberts, who continued his fine pre-season with a hat trick against Banbury United earlier this week.