Nottingham Forest have been handed a boost in their bid to bring Josh Ruffels to The City Ground this summer.
In recent comments cited by Banbury Cake, Oxford United manager Karl Robinson revealed that the left-back has still not signed a new contract at the Kassam Stadium – an offer that has been on the table for a number of months – with his current deal set to expire in a matter of weeks.
Nottingham Forest have been reported to hold an interest in the £180k-rated defender, with Chris Hughton thought to be keen on the idea of signing players from the lower divisions at The City Ground this summer.
Speaking about the contractual situation of the left-back, Robinson said: “From our point of view, we know where we’re at. We know what’s going on and we’ll be speaking over the weekend.
“We requested a resolution and Josh, deep down, is an Oxford fan. We’ve had some good conversations, but we also respect the situation.”
Considering just how impressive Ruffels was for Oxford United in League One this season, it is not surprising that Robinson appears so desperate for the defender to pen a new deal at the club, while the fact he is yet to do so will likely have Hughton buzzing.
Over his 44 league appearances this term, the former Coventry City man thrived in an attacking capacity, scoring six goals, registering six assists and creating five big chances, as well as making an average of 0.7 key passes per game.
These metrics saw the £2.1k-per-week left-back earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.00, ranking him as Oxford’s fifth-best performer in the third tier – playing a crucial role in the U’s securing a top-six finish in the league.
As such, the addition of the player who Robinson dubbed a “manager’s dream” at Forest this summer would certainly appear to provide a huge boost to the club’s own chances of going on to mount a push towards the play-off places next term, particularly as both Yuri Ribeiro and Gaetan Bong look set to leave Nottingham this summer.
So, if Hughton is successful in his attempt to lure Ruffels away from Oxford in the coming months, particularly on a free transfer, it would be an extremely shrewd piece of business by the 62-year-old boss, as well as a good sign of things to come at Forest next season.