Oxford United have boosted their squad this week by bringing in highly rated midfielder Mark Sykes from Irish side Glenavon for an undisclosed fee.
The 21-year old played 22 times in the Northern Ireland last season and grew up close to Gavin Whyte, another Northern Ireland Under 21 international. Karl Robinson, Oxford manager, was delighted to get his man.
“He has a terrific goal scoring record for a midfielder and we knew there was a lot of competition to sign him,” he told the club’s official website. “Credit to Tiger for moving quickly when we heard he was available: he is a really exciting prospect.”
Gavin Whyte was equally as effusive in his praise for the midfielder, claiming Oxford fans are in for a treat.
“I think the Oxford fans are going to like watching him. He plays with a lot of freedom, makes things happen and I think is a really good player. I spoke to him and told him what a great club this is and if that played a part in his decision then great because I know he will be a great signing for us.”
That has allowed Robinson to move a player out, with 32-year old Tony McMahon moving to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe United until the end of the current campaign. McMahon is well-known to Scunthorpe manager Stuart McCall, the two having worked together at Bradford City. Speaking to the Iron’s official website, he told of his relief at getting back to playing football.
“I’m looking forward to it, and as soon as I heard of the interest about coming back to work with Stuart McCall it was a massive pull. Being back close to my family up north was an offer I couldn’t really turn down in order to get back playing again.”
Both these sides have been busy in the early stages of the window. it’s interesting to see Robinson sign another Northern Ireland Under 21. he’s complained of losing Whyte to international duty, but by signing another player likely to be called up, he might now be able to get matches called off. Surely he wouldn’t be that cynical?
As for McMahon, it could be interesting is Scunthorpe and Oxford are battling it out at the bottom, with him playing a key role in relegating his parent club.