By Wayne Veysey

14th Dec, 2020 | 2:47pm

Exclusive: Club agree to re-sign Oxford United forward in pre-Jan deal

Oxford United winger Joel Cooper has agreed a deal to rejoin Northern Ireland outfit Linfield when the January window opens, Football Insider can reveal.

Cooper joined Oxford from Linfield in the summer but has not made a League Two matchday squad since the end of October.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider the 24-year-old is to return to the Belfast club on loan until the end of the season.

Oxford United boss Karl Robinson told the BBC earlier this month Cooper wanted to return to Northern Ireland for personal reasons.

There were a number of sides after his signature but he is set to move back to Windsor Park after he enjoyed two successful seasons at Linfield.

Cooper scored 18 goals and provided 26 assists in 71 games across all competitions for the club and helped them to back-to-back NIFL Premiership titles and an Irish League Cup.

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His performances last season earned him the Northern Ireland Football Awards Player of the Year trophy and a first call-up to Ian Baraclough’s Northern Ireland squad.

However, the Ballyclare-born winger has struggled at the Kassam Stadium and has only started one game for the U’s – their 3-1 defeat to Watford in the Carabao Cup.

Linfield, who are managed by former Leeds United and Fulham striker David Healy, currently sit second in the NIFL Premiership.

They are four points behind league leaders Larne who are unbeaten in the league.

In other news, Kevin Phillips has claimed Oxford United’s League One rivals Sunderland could be set to sell two huge names in January.