Gary Waddock named Oxford United head coach

Gary Waddock

Oxford United have named Gary Waddock as their new head coach, eight weeks after former boss Chris Wilder left.

Wilder departed Oxford on 26 January to join Northampton, with Mickey Lewis placed in temporary charge.

Waddock, 52, has previously managed QPR, Aldershot and Wycombe, whom he led to promotion and subsequent relegation before being sacked in September 2012.

The former Republic of Ireland international leaves his role as head of coaching at MK Dons to join Oxford.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge and there are some fantastic games coming up between now and the end of the season," Waddock told BBC Radio Oxford.

"It's a fantastic opportunity, this is an extremely big club and with the position they are in the league this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us going into the final end of the season.

"It's taken something special for me to leave MK Dons to join this wonderful football club and I'm really excited. There is quite a bit at stake so let's meet that challenge head on."

Waddock, who has been handed a two-year contract up until 2015-16, takes over an Oxford side who are in sixth place in League Two with eight games left.

His first match in charge of the U's will be the league fixture away at Southend on Monday, 24 March, and Waddock is confident he can help get the club out of League Two this season.

"I'm confident in my ability but I will have to assess the squad," Waddock said. "I do know what it takes to get out of this division though. If we all stick together we will have success."

Waddock confirmed Lewis and fellow coach Andy Melville will remain at the club having both steered the U's over the past two months while the search for Wilder's replacement was ongoing.

Chairman Ian Lenagan said they had 71 applicants for the job and interviewed 12 candidates before eventually drawing up a three-man short list.

"There were three in particular who could do the job and do it well," Lenagan explained.

"Gary came through clearly as he has all the qualities we have for the vision of Oxford United.

"He plays good football and is committed to the development of youth. He has a sports science background and he matches every characteristic we want in a manager."

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