DEREK Fazackerley is looking forward to a fresh challenge after taking on a different position at Oxford United.

The 68-year-old has moved upstairs after six years as the U’s first-team coach and will advise on several areas, including scouting and recruitment.

Fazackerley has been an ever-present on the touchline since joining United as Michael Appleton’s assistant in July 2014, with the club close to announcing his replacement.

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The veteran coach felt it was time to move aside after last month’s Sky Bet League One play-off final defeat to Wycombe Wanderers, but admitted he could not turn down the chance to stay with the U’s.

He said: “I told Karl (Robinson, United’s boss) following the play-off final that after 50 years my time on the grass has probably come to an end.

“I didn’t really think it was right for me to carry on at this particular moment in time.

“In fairness to Karl, he said ‘we don’t really want to lose you, is there anything else that might interest you?’.

“It certainly gave me something else to think about and I thought ‘why not?’.

“I know the people at Oxford and I know the direction the club is hoping to go.

“If I can help in any way, shape or form then obviously that’s something I want to do.”

The exact title of Fazackerley’s new role is still undecided, but he will be able to call on his vast experience in the game.

After an impressive career on the pitch that included a club-record 671 appearances for Blackburn Rovers, his first coaching position came as Chester City player/manager in 1987.

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Fazackerley went on to work at several top sides, including Newcastle United and Manchester City, and was England assistant manager under Kevin Keegan.

Since his arrival in 2014, United have been promoted from League Two in 2016, reached two EFL Trophy finals and embarked on several cup runs.

The assistant even stepped in to lead the side for eight games in 2017/18, between the sacking of Pep Clotet and appointment of Karl Robinson.

Fazackerley was one game away from a second promotion with the U’s and he admitted the result at Wembley left him tempted to continue.

He said: “We didn’t quite get the opportunity to finish it how I would have liked.

“In some ways if we’d made it into the Championship it would have been a slightly easier decision to make.

“It also leaves a bit of a sour taste and I thought about giving it one more year, but that’s probably not the right thing for the team.”