DEREK Fazackerley believes Oxford United’s chances next year rest on avoiding the errors made in recruitment last summer.

The assistant head coach is heavily involved in Karl Robinson’s attempts to strengthen the squad during the close season.

It has started well, with goalkeeper Simon Eastwood committing himself to a long-term deal, while United beat several other Sky Bet League One sides to sign right back Cameron Norman.

The club are attempting to return to the recruitment model which had served them well, before a change of direction last summer.

Following Pep Clotet’s appointment, the U’s cast their net far wider than before and brought in half a dozen overseas players, many of whom had worked with the Spaniard.

Of those, only Ricardinho became a regular and Fazackerley knows just how vital it will be to bring in the right players this time.

He said: “I think there’s a good opportunity when you look at the teams coming down and coming up that we can still be strong contenders.

“But we need to get everything right in the summer. Last summer unfortunately we went a little bit astray.

“Pep came in late and didn’t know too much about the league and things didn’t quite work out the way we wanted.

“But it’s almost a fresh sheet of paper now and we're looking forward to certainly making inroads into the recruitment and seeing where it takes us."

After spending the last month of the season reviewing United’s backroom staff, Robinson has opted to keep Fazackerley in place as his right-hand man.

The former England coach has spent half a century in the game, so knows a thing or two about adapting to working alongside a new boss.

He said: “It is something that’s happened before, so it’s not new, but every different occasion brings its own challenges.

“I think the fact that knowing Karl’s style of play, him knowing the league and a bit about me sort of oiled the wheels a little bit.

“It did make things a little bit easier, but you’ve still got to develop some sort of relationship and an understanding of what you want from each other.

“Hopefully the two months towards the end of the season have given an opportunity to find out a little more about each other and what we’ll be doing going forward.

“It’s fine so far, particularly at the moment because there’s no games to lose.

“Now it’s all about the recruitment.”