Chris Wilder hails Oxford United progress

Chris Wilder

Oxford United manager Chris Wilder says his side are "moving in the right direction" after their 1-0 pre-season victory over West Ham on Tuesday.

Deane Smalley scored the only goal of the game after 36 minutes - powering a volley home from close range.

"It's a step in the right direction," Wilder told BBC Radio Oxford.

"We've set a decent standard and we have to move on from it. We're two weeks into pre-season training now and they've worked very hard."

West Ham withdrew most of their stars players - including captain Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Carlton Cole - after the break, but they come close to an equaliser late on.

Rob Hall, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Oxford last season hit the post for the Hammers.

The match was a chance for U's fans to see some of the club's new signings - such as Michael Raynes and on loan defender Sean McGinty.

Wilder also gave an opportunity to several trialists.

"It's good for the players to get a first taste of action," added Wilder.

"I thought my senior players were excellent and I thought the new signings did well and I'm delighted with the lads we've brought in on trial.

"I've been in that position before when I was released as a 19-year-old at Southampton and it's heartbreaking for those young players.

"But the attitude of them was superb and we will have a closer look at them on Friday.

"We're looking to bring a player or two in because we are short in certain areas - we won't be handing out three-year contracts but we will take a few on."

Among the players making their U's debut last night was loanee Jake Forster-Caskey and Wilder says he has already been massively impressed with the Brighton midfielder.

"I've really enjoyed working with him already and will enjoy working with him during the time we've got him," added Wilder.

"We've all been impressed with him as we have with all of them. They are good characters and they are all willing to learn and improve.

"We are trying to add a couple of players to what we've got, we went close last season and we want to go even closer next year."

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