The exit door at the Kassam Stadium has been a busy place this January with five players exiting the club permanently whilst full-back Joe Riley has signed for Bury after the conclusion of his loan spell with the U’s. Appleton had been keen to extend Riley’s loan from Bolton until the end of the season but the offer of a two and a half year contract, close to home has seemingly swayed Riley in signing for the Gigg Lane promotion contenders. Junior Brown, who only joined the club in the summer from Fleetwood Town, has made his loan deal at Mansfield Town a full transfer and is joined at Field Mill by Michael Raynes who was released by mutual consent to allow him to join up with the Stags who are managed by former Oxford midfielder Adam Murray. Tom Newey also left the club by mutual consent and joined up with former manager Chris Wilder at Northampton Town after making three appearances for the Cobblers during a loan spell in November. Brian Howard was released before the end of his short term contract and joined Vanarama Conference side Eastleigh.
The highest profile player to leave Appleton’s side though was Alfie Potter. The 26 year old who originally joined the club on loan from Peterborough in 2009 was released by mutual consent to allow him to join AFC Wimbledon. Potter made over 150 appearances for Oxford and will be fondly remembered for scoring the promotion sealing third goal at Wembley against York City in the 2010 Conference Play-Off Final. An exciting player when on form, Potter suffered a serious ankle injury during the 2013/14 season which proved to have a heavy impact on his career. Despite appearing to regain the heights of some form shown in his early career at Oxford, Potter’s appearances in a yellow shirt this season largely left may United fans frustrated. Appleton said “Alfie has been at the club a long time and sometimes we all have shelf lives at football clubs and quite possibly his time might be up, it’s a little bit unfortunate because he’s got a bit of talent.“
David Hunt’s loan at Conference leaders Barnet, ends after this weekend, with Bees manager Martin Allen non-committal on whether it will be extended.
A couple of pre-arranged transfers in were completed with Chey Dunkley’s loan move from Kidderminster Harriers being made a full transfer once the window opened whilst Irish striker Patrick Hoban received international clearance to begin playing after joining the club in November.