Mark Harris praised by boss after being named League One player of the month

Harris has had something of a season of two halves in front of goal, while his exploits in April have seen him awarded the Sky Bet League One player of the month.

The Welshman netted six goals in six games last month, with his strikes key to Oxford United’s successful play-off push, including braces in the 4-0 victories against Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion.

The 25-year-old also opened the scoring from the penalty spot in United’s 5-0 hammering of Peterborough United, and got the opener in the crucial 2-1 win at Exeter City on the final day of the regular campaign.

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U’s head coach Buckingham said: “Mark’s worked extremely hard. When I came in here, he’d only scored a few goals and a lot of movement was done outside the box.

“We spent a bit of time with him, and worked on the areas we want him to operate in. He’s reaping the rewards of that.

“He’s got good players around him, that are providing some really good moments for him to up his goal tally.

“He’s got his own goal tally in mind, and he’s got another two games to get there and better that.

“The majority of that has come down to how he’s applied himself over the last six, seven, eight months.”

Harris joined United in the summer after his Cardiff City contract expired. He spent most of his time with the Bluebirds as a versatile forward player, utilised out wide or through the middle.

He was also mainly an impact player, with 49 of his 87 league appearances for Cardiff coming from the bench.

Buckingham said: “It’s his first season as an out and out number nine. He set himself a target at the start of the year, and to be in reaching distance with still a couple of games left, I think he’d see that as a real achievement, as we do.

“It’s now about doing it on the bigger stage. He’s shown he’s more than capable of doing it, and I can’t wait to see him back out on the pitch.”

Harris fended off competition from Blackpool goalkeeper Dan Grimshaw, Reading midfielder Lewis Wing, and Bolton Wanderers forward Aaron Collins, to win April’s League One player of the month.

Buckingham meanwhile was shortlisted for the manager of the month award, but was pipped to the gong by Wycombe Wanderers boss Matt Bloomfield, who ensured the Chairboys were unbeaten in seven games, which included five on the road.

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