A summer of change at Oxford United continued on Monday with the announcement that Derek Fazackerley had agreed to join the U’s as assistant to head coach Michael Appleton. Since Andy Melville’s departure early in the summer, the coaching staff at the Kassam Stadium had consisted just of a head coach – Gary Waddock and now Appleton – and Mickey Lewis, the former United midfielder who had served as caretaker manager after Chris Wilder’s exit. The addition of Fazackerley can be seen as a big coup for the club with the former Blackburn Rovers player having coached at the highest level.
Fazackerley begun his coaching career at Finish club Kumu before becoming first team coach at Newcastle United. Upon Kevin Keegan’s appointment as England manager in 1999, Fazackerley was announced as his assistant whilst spells at Blackburn, Bolton and Barnsley have also followed. The 62-year-old has also acted as assistant to former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson on two occasions during spells at Manchester City and Leicester City. Most recently, he had been first team coach at Birmingham City alongside Lee Clark who he had also assisted at Huddersfield Town.
U’s Chief Executive Mark Ashton told the club’s official website “Derek is a genuine football person and we are delighted that he will be joining us…To be able to call on his experience, his contacts within the game and his know-how will be invaluable.”
Fazackerley said “It is a really exciting challenge. Michael Appleton is a good young Manager with great ideas about the game and I would love to help him achieve success here at Oxford. The club is set-up well, there are young players coming through and the whole club is progressive and ambitious.”
There was also a second appointment on Monday with performance analyst Mark Thomas joining from Portsmouth. Thomas who has worked alongside Appleton previously will head-up the video analysis team alongside current first team analyst Dan Bond.