Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton has sealed three signings as he looks to add more quality to his struggling squad.
The U’s gaffer made his first addition last Thursday afternoon with the signing of Kidderminster Harriers centre-back Chey Dunkley. The 22-year-old former Hednesford Town player has joined Appleton’s side on loan until January when a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee will be completed. Young United player Sam Long has joined ‘Kiddy’ on loan until January in return. Dunkley’s arrival at the Kassam Stadium will add competition to the defensive options with captain Jake Wright and former Rotherham man Johnny Mullins currently Appleton’s pairing with Michael Raynes restricted to bench duties.
“It’s a big club and shouldn’t be where it is at the moment” Dunkley told BBC Radio Oxford.
“There wasn’t any need to sell me the club, the gaffer showed me the ambitions of the club. It was a no-brainer.“
Second through the door, all be it not until January, was Irish striker Patrick Hoban. The 23-year-old finished as joint top scorer in the Irish Premier Division as his side Dundalk won the title. It is the second time that Hoban has joined an English side, he spent time at Bristol City but did not make an appearance before being released in 2011.
U’s assistant head coach, Derek Fazackerley travelled to Ireland to watch Hoban in action as part of a detailed scouting assignment that saw Hoban watched five times before being offered a deal. The Irish season has finished but Hoban will have to wait around six weeks before he can make his debut due to regulations around signing players from international leagues.
“It’s frustrating, you just want to play football. You miss it after a day so I’ll have to wait and get myself ready for 1 January” he said.
The third deal completed that came before Thursday’s loan window deadline is the signing of Jarrow Roofing striker John Campbell. The 26-year-old striker has scored 24 goals in 19 appearance so far this season including all five against Consett. Campbell has also joined on a loan deal with a permanent to be finalised in January. He began his career at Newcastle United before a short spell at Manchester City, but the whole of his career since has come in non-league with clubs including Darlington and West Auckland Town before joining Jarrow in the summer.
Dunkley was an unused substitute in United’s 0-0 draw at home to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. Campbell is likely to go straight into the squad for the trip to Cheltenham with young striker James Roberts set for a spell on the sidelines after limping off against Wimbledon.