It was announced this morning that former Iron stopper Sam Slocombe has joined the U’s on a two-year-deal following his release from Scunthorpe.
Height: 6ft (1.83m)
Scunthorpe Appearances: 115
His career began at Bottesford Town where he attracted the attention of the League One side who consequently submitted a £3,000 fee for the goalkeeper’s services. He made his debut in 2009 for ‘Scunny’ and has since accumulated over 100 appearances, becoming a firm favourite amongst the fans over his seven year stint at the club.
Slocombe has been renowned for his exceptional reactionary shot-stopping abilities and has been labelled his best within his own 6 yard box. This is an invaluable attribute to have and below is a clip of what we should hope to see from the new man:
Also his supreme penalty saving record. Many U’s fans will remember the excellent penalty save he pulled off during the meeting between the two sides in the 2013/14 season where he excellently tipped Deane Smalley’s low strike past the post:
Ryan Taylor is the next to join the U’s following on from the additions of Kemar Roofe and Liam Sercombe a fortnight ago.
The target-man was not offered a contract from Portsmouth after Paul Cook arrived from Chesterfield and has signed a two-year deal with Oxford.
The 27 year-old has accumulated 55 appearances for Portsmouth, scoring 15 times during his time on the south coast.
Taylor has also played for Rotherham, Burton, Exeter and Bristol City scoring 41 goals in his 10 year and 240 appearance career.
Michael Appleton is pleased to bring in the 6ft 2 forward:
“Ryan is another really strong addition to the squad. He works hard, scores goals, he leads the line really well and he is someone you know is going to make life very hard for opposition defenders. He was one of the best forwards in the division last season and we are delighted to have him here.”
Mark Ashton added:
“I think it’s another big signing for us. Ryan will bring us something different, a physicality we probably haven’t got at the moment and we’re delighted to have him here”
Ryan Taylor had himself to say:
“It’s an exciting move for me. Oxford have big plans and I have been very impressed by the set-up and by the ambition that everyone has shown. They proved what they can do during the second half of last season and I’m looking forward to reporting back for pre-season, getting to know the lads and being part of a successful side here.”
United fullback Joe Skarz has agreed to sign a three year contract after a successful spell under Appleton since arriving in the January window. Skarz, despite only being 25, has accumalated over 300 Football League appearances and brings a great deal of experience and professionalism into the U’s back four. The defender has won promotions from League Two with both Bury and Rotherham and a further promotion from League One in successive seasons with Steve Evans’ side. Joe himself is delighted at agreeing the contract:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the club and am really looking forward to next season. The Board and the Manager are very ambitious and have big plans for the club and I want to play a part in that. Everyone, from the players to the fans, has made me feel very welcome and we ended the season so positively that I can’t wait to get back for pre-season and playing again.”
Michael Appleton is pleased to start the summer spending spree this way and was pleased to retain Skarz on a long-term contract:
“Joe is an excellent defender and a great pro to have around the club. He has won promotion from this league, and the one above, and his experience will be a massive plus for us next season. There was a lot of interest from other clubs but it speaks volumes for Oxford United that he has seen what we are starting to build here and wants to be involved”
Skarz has been pivotal in the U’s up-turn in form, playing 18 games during his spell and contributing towards a run that stretched to 8 unbeaten. This is a deal that I’m sure will excite U’s fans as he has undoubtedly proved his worth over the course of the campaign.
Peterborough striker Kyle Vassell has arrived at the Kassam Stadium on loan for the remainder of the season. It has come as no surprise after Appleton vouched that he was back in the market after United’s strikers have had a torrid time in front of goal – with no goals scored from open play in 11. Vassell himself had to say:
“I’m delighted to be here. Hopefully I can score some goals and help Oxford in the remaining games this season”
The Posh striker has registered 5 Sky Bet League One goals this season and gives United another option in the final third. If Vassell is to feature on Saturday he will be the 43rd player to make a U’s appearance this season after one of United’s busiest ever seasons in the transfer market.
In other news loanees Giorgio Rasulo and Armand Gnanduillet have returned to their respective parent clubs after being recalled for lack of game time. Also prospect Balmy has joined Oxford City on loan for the remainder of the season.
West Bromwich Albion loanee Kemar Roofe has extended his loan spell with the U’s until the end of the season. Roofe has impressed in his four cameo appearances and earned his first start against high-flyers Bury last week. His efforts have been recognised by boss Michael Appleton who is delighted that he was able to add to the original 28-day loan spell previously agreed.
“I worked with Kemar when he was a youngster at West Brom and have always known he has talent. He has now added a real maturity to that and he has done well for us. I think there is more to come from him and it is good to be able to work with him over a longer period.”
With top-scorer Danny Hylton suspended for the next two games it is likely the forward will retain his place in the starting XI and he could use this to cement a regular starting role. Kemar himself is excited to extend his stay.
“It’s good to have it sorted out nice and early. I have really enjoyed my time here. I have been made to feel very welcome, there is a positive outlook throughout the club and I am enjoying my football.”