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As is common once the end of season comes, players with expiring contracts make their decisions on whether they will stay or not. One such this summer is Chey Dunkley, who recently rejected a new contract at Oxford. A one-time England C international, Dunkley has been a near constant for Oxford this season so it will be interesting to see who comes in for him.
The 25 year old centre back started his career at the well-known Crewe academy, but after four years there, Dunkley was released and subsequently joined Hednesford Town. He featured heavily in his two years at the club, and was rewarded with a place in the Northern Premier Division Team of the Year at the end of the 2011-12 season. His form saw him move on to Kidderminster in the Conference, for a fee of £5,000.
Once again, he became an important part of the side, helping them to the playoffs before defeat against Wrexham. His performances in two and a half seasons at Kidderminster did not go unnoticed, and he made the jump to league football after joining Oxford in November 2014, eventually joining permanently in January 2015. He didn’t nail a first team spot, however, until the next season.
Dunkley cemented his place in the first team, and with it a promotion to League One. They also reached the JPT Final, before losing to Barnsley 3-2. Dunkley maintained his place on the team sheet this season, missing just six games. He has made almost 100 appearance for Oxford, but its looks like there will be no more for now.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Dunkley’s no nonsense approach have won him admirers, and despite this, his yellow card count is more than reasonable for a centre back, a high risk position. His height (6ft2) and his strength compliment his position, whilst his scoring rate, a goal every nine games, is not bad either. Understandably, Dunkley wants to progress his career, and at 25, he has every right to. He would benefit from an extended stay at a club, however, plus he must also cut out the little disciplinary issues, like the FA doping charge he admitted to in 2015. Iron out those, though, and he can really flourish for his new employers.
What They Say
Michael Appleton – Oxford Manager
“He is someone we have looked at for a while and been very impressed with…He is a big lad and attacks the ball well but he is also pretty comfortable on the ball.”