Oxford United manager Des Buckingham has stated that the club have began conversations with defender Joe Bennett over a new deal.
The 33-year-old full-back joined the U’s at the end of November on a free transfer, agreeing a contract until the end of January. He was signed by the club as cover after fellow left back Greg Leigh picked up a calf injury whilst on international duty with Jamaica.
Since joining the club, Bennett has gone on to make eight appearances for the club in all competitions, starting five games in League One. Buckingham has stated that the club have “made no secret” about the fact that they are looking to tie the experienced defender down to a longer deal, with the potential for him to look elsewhere at the expiry of his contract
“He wants to stay, I want him to stay, and we’ve said for a while now with him, so hopefully that’s just a case of getting there with him at some point soon,” the 38-year old told This is Oxfordshire.
Bennett’s latest performance on New Year’s Day saw him complete the full 90 minutes as they ran out 2-1 winners away to Charlton Athletic. It was the fifth game in a row he had managed to complete fully, an impressive feat considering he has been without a club since leaving Wigan Athletic in the summer.
Buckingham said: “That was his fifth consecutive 90 minutes, and he’s someone that didn’t have a pre-season and only trained for two weeks coming into this Christmas period, so for him to do what he’s just done, and back up the 90 minutes and performances, I’m extremely pleased with him.”
When asked if he would like to remain at the club, Bennett responded: “I want to stay, it’s a good club and a team that are looking to go up, and we’ve got a good squad.
“I don’t see why, if the manager wants me to stay, I can’t do that, and I’d be happy to do that.”
Joe Bennett is a very talented and experienced full back, with plenty of experience of promotion-chasing football, including his stint at Cardiff City, where they gained promotion to the Premier League.
It would be a smart move from Oxford United to tie him down, with him seemingly having regained his fitness back. If they can manage him well to ensure he doesn’t pick up any major injuries, they will have one of the best left backs in the division.