MICHAEL Duberry thinks the silence from Oxford United’s board over their search for a new manager could be damaging their relationship with the club’s fans.

Since sacking Pep Clotet more than four weeks ago, the U’s have slipped to within five points of the Sky Bet League One relegation zone after a disastrous run of results.

Chairman Darryl Eales said the club would like to wait until a spell of three games in eight days were over before making further comment on the managerial situation.

But with those matches all ending in defeat and midfielder Ryan Ledson calling for clarity on the situation after Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Plymouth Argyle, the disgruntlement at the club’s ongoing silence among supporters is palpable.

And former United defender Duberry says it is something which must be addressed to avoid any further ill-feeling.

“The one thing that creates a gulf between club and fans is a lack of communication,” he said.

“People might agree with what you say, or they might not – but at least they know what the situation is and that’s very important.

“You run the risk of upsetting people by not saying anything.

“People just want to know what’s what, and I know this chairman was very good at that when he first came in.”

Duberry believes social media has made it even more vital for clubs to keep on top of speculation.

“Everyone asks their own questions, and then answers them these days,” he said.

“It creates uncertainty, and if nothing is being said from a club, it just makes it worse with all these keyboard warriors on forums, Twitter and the internet.

“The longer you go without saying anything, the more questions you have to bat away when you do speak.

“I am not saying you answer everything in public, of course not, but by making small statements every now and again, people know the situation and it helps you stay on top of it all.

“The press and media should be your friends – you can control the rumours by using them to keep people informed of the truth.”

Duberry was full of praise for Ledson’s comments, and says the fact he was willing to make them in public should make the club’s hierachy take note.

“It’s a bold move (to speak openly), but clearly he felt it needed to be said,” Duberry commented.

“I think it sends a message out there that the players need some direction on where the club are going.

“Sometimes if there is uncertainty among the squad, especially those struggling with confidence, it makes it harder for everyone not knowing.

“If you are at school and have a supply teacher, sometimes you maybe don’t work as hard because you know they are only there on a temporary basis.”

However, Duberry believes the job is well regarded in football and would be a perfect fit for an up-and-coming tal-ent.

“It is a really attractive job,” he said.

“For a hungry, young manager it is perfect – the club is highly thought of, has always produced young players and certainly has the potential to go much higher.

“It’s not surprising there are some big names linked with it.”