IT is less than a month until Oxford United begin their Sky Bet League One campaign at Cambridge United.

The U’s have made three signings and been linked with several players, while Rob Atkinson and Josh Ruffels have departed.

This is how United are shaping up in each position as they continue their preparations for the new season.


In the building: Simon Eastwood, Jack Stevens.

Ins: None.

Outs: None.

Links: None.

United are looking pretty healthy in this department, with Jack Stevens and Simon Eastwood both signing three-year contracts last season.

Stevens replaced his teammate as No 1 last December and won the U’s several points that ultimately secured a play-off spot.

The 23-year-old has inevitably caught the eye of higher-division clubs, with Sky Bet Championship side Middlesbrough linked in April, but seems very settled at United.

Eastwood will back himself to challenge Stevens for the shirt next season, having been first-choice for the previous four campaigns.


In the building: Sam Long, Luke McNally, Elliott Moore, John Mousinho.

Ins: None.

Outs: Rob Atkinson, Nico Jones (released), Kyran Lofthouse, Josh Ruffels.

Links: Jamie Robson, Joe Tomlinson, Will Boyle, Jason Kerr.

The departures of Atkinson and Ruffels to the Championship mean the left side of last season’s back four is no more.

United have money to spend thanks to the centre back’s move to Bristol City, which was thought to be in the region of £1.6million.

Cheltenham Town’s Will Boyle and St Johnstone captain Jason Kerr have been linked, but Atkinson’s replacement may already be in the building.

Luke McNally is highly regarded at the club even though he is yet to make his senior debut, having arrived in January.

Karl Robinson has already said the defender will partner John Mousinho – who signed a new two-year contract this week – in United’s pre-season friendlies.

Elliott Moore did not miss a minute of the 2020/21 league campaign and the U's will want to extend his deal, which is entering its final year.

United are currently without a recognised left back, though, so that is the most pressing concern.

Dundee United’s Jamie Robson and Joe Tomlinson at Eastleigh have been on their radar, but talks with another player are understood to be progressing well.

They will also be keeping an eye on Sam Long’s hamstring, which he injured twice towards the end of last season, but you would expect Anthony Forde or Jamie Hanson to deputise if needed.


In the building: Cameron Brannagan, Leon Chambers-Parillon, Sean Clare, Anthony Forde, Alex Gorrin, Jamie Hanson, James Henry, Marcus McGuane, Mark Sykes.

Ins: Marcus McGuane.

Outs: None.

Links: None.

United are well-stocked in midfield, with players who can operate at the base of Robinson’s favoured central three and others who can be used further forward.

The signing of Marcus McGuane brings the U’s that much-needed power and you can expect him and Cameron Brannagan to start at Cambridge on August 7, all being well.

Where the latter plays will determine who joins them in midfield, after Brannagan did well in the deeper role in the second half of last season.

Mark Sykes hit form towards the end of the campaign, while James Henry looked more like his old self with goals and assists during the run-in.

If Brannagan is used further forward it could mean Alex Gorrin returns to the starting line-up, having been a regular when fit for most of his two years with United.

Meanwhile, Robinson has suggested Sean Clare could be used in midfield after showing great energy in that position on loan at Burton Albion last season.

Teenagers Leon Chambers-Parillon and Tyler Goodrham have just signed their first professional contracts and will be aiming to get minutes in the cup competitions.


In the building: Dan Agyei, Billy Bodin, Joel Cooper, Derick Osei, Matty Taylor, Ryan Williams, Sam Winnall.

Ins: Billy Bodin, Ryan Williams.

Outs: Dylan Asonganyi, Rob Hall (both released)

Links: Ellis Harrison, Gavin Whyte.

Robinson has said he wants four new wingers this summer and he is halfway there following the signings of Billy Bodin and Ryan Williams.

Gavin Whyte has been linked with a U’s return on loan from Cardiff City and this rumour is understood to have legs.

Robinson has indicated he will only target another striker if Sam Winnall cannot stay fit, which suggests United will continue playing one up front next season.

Matty Taylor is first-choice in that position, although Dan Agyei would hope for more minutes after showing great consistency in the final months of the campaign.

United were reportedly closing in on Ellis Harrison, but Portsmouth’s failure to land Jayden Stockley seems to have scuppered that move.

Derick Osei and Joel Cooper have returned from loan spells and it will be interesting to see how much game-time each get in pre-season.