Last week saw two local lads given a chance to continue their careers with Oxford United.
Aaron Heap made his first team debut last season, his first as a professional, and after signing a six month extension he is keen to be involved with the first team squad more next time around.
“I had a good year last year and really enjoyed it” he told iFollow. “I say ‘good’ because there were some good moments but you always have to try to improve and I want to create a lot more of those moments in the season coming up. We have a pathway through and you see how Shandon was doing last year, or Nico getting his debut and you know that this club will give you a opportunity so long as you perform. And at the end of the day it’s down to me to perform now and make the most of this opportunity.”
A call up to the Wales under 21 training squad was a reward for the long hours that Aaron put in last season but he knows he has to work harder than ever this time around
“I made one appearance and to this day I still think about it probably every day, but it has to spur me on to make more appearances. I need to establish myself as part of the Gaffer’s squad, get my name in that and fight for a place on the bench again. And if I do that then be ready to come on and maybe get a start; but one step at a time
“I am an under 23 player but want to be in contention in the first team. I have been here for so long and love being part of this club- it’s the one I want to play for so I am determined to do well.”
Aaron McCreadie became the latest youngster to step up when he turned pro last week.
“It was an amazing feeling” he said. “I have been here since I was eight or nine and my family are Oxford fans- I had a season ticket when I was five! So to sign that first professional contract was an amazing feeling. But I know I have to kick on from this. I had a good season last time but you always have that doubt about whether you will get an offer. A scholarship is all about ups and downs and so many people have helped me get my first professional contract.”
Aaron skippered the under 18s to an outstanding season…
“We went to Turf Moor and beat Burnley but for me the stand out game was the draw against Bournemouth where we won the league. The emotion that day was unbelievable.”
Good on the ball, McCreadie seems a natural fit for a holding midfield role.
“That’s a role I have just grown into over the two years of my scholarship. You have to stay disciplined in that role but I think I have learned a lot over the last two years.
"I’m still going to learn. Dan Harris and Leon Blackmore-Such are always there to remind me I haven’t made it yet! I know I have to stay grounded and I know there are people here to help me all the way. I can't wait for the first week back. Last year I got myself really fit and came back knowing I was ready to kick on; I knew I had to do that. It helped me throughout the year and that’s what I intend to do this summer as well.”
See interviews with both players in iFollow