Comment: 3 Oxford United players that Karl Robinson should look to sell this summer
Having finished 8th in League One, this is the third season in a row where Oxford United have finished in or around the playoff places.
The Yellows amassed 76 points. This would normally be enough to secure a top-six placing, but not this season.
The reason they fell short of a play-off place is easily identifiable. Whilst Oxford scored 82 goals, which nobody in League One bettered, they conceded 59, which turned out to be too many. So Oxford were great entertainers in 2021/22, but the defence needs surgery this summer.
Here we look at three players the club should consider offloading this summer…
One of two goalkeepers vying for the no.1 spot, Stevens made 29 league appearances this season, being first-choice goalkeeper both at the beginning and end of the season. He lost his place to Simon Eastwood through injury in October – though fans were already divided over whether he or Eastwood should be first choice.
Questions had been asked after a 2-1 defeat at Bolton in August, after Oxford took an early lead. The rumblings of discontent became louder when Oxford suffered their joint biggest defeat of the season in early September, 3-1 at Wimbledon.
Two weeks after that came the other 3-1 defeat, at home against Plymouth. Eastwood took no.1 spot until Stevens regained first-choice status in January, but the goals conceded column just kept growing.
Eastwood has been with Oxford since 2016. Eastwood fell out of favour with fans when his error at Wembley in the 2020 play-off final against Wycombe played a big part in The Chairboys’ winning goal.
This season has seen him competing for the main goalkeeping spot with Stevens. Nobody seems to know who the first-choice goalkeeper is – and Eastwood, like Stevens, has conceded too many goals. Early this season, with Stevens as first-choice, Eastwood was used in cup competitions. Eastwood returned to the starting side in October but then lost his place to Stevens in January after United took just one point from their first three games in 2022.
Neither Oxford goalkeeper has hit the standard required this season. Selling both would free up funds to buy a more solid replacement.
Joining Oxford United last summer, Steve Seddon was intended to be a replacement for popular local left-back Josh Ruffels, who had left the Yellows for Huddersfield. Things started brightly for Seddon when he capped a strong performance with a goal away at Cambridge in the first game of the season.
Ruffels was a tough act to follow, as he was not just a great full-back, but he scored goals too. Doing the same on day one was seen as a big plus for Seddon, who had been with Birmingham City as a youth. He’d made the first-team there, and then been on loan with Stevenage, Portsmouth and AFC Wimbledon.
But as the season unfolded, mistakes crept into his game. Seddon lost his place in the side in February, and has mainly been used as a substitute since. His sale would help free up a left-back spot for either a new permanent signing, or a loanee from a higher level.
Oxford United need some defensive changes this summer. The sale of Stevens, Eastwood and Seddon paves the way for replacements and improvement.