Oxford boss urges Liverpool and Newcastle-linked Roofe and O'Dowda to ignore speculation and stay put

Michael Appleton is desperate to hold on to two of his key players, despite Premier League interest.

Oxford United boss Michael Appleton has urged Kemar Roofe and Callum O'Dowda to ignore Premier League interest and stay at the Kassam Stadium for the time-being, BBC Sport reports.

Midfielder Roofe was linked with Newcastle United last month (by BBC Sport), while HITC Sport brought you the news that O'Dowda is being monitored by several top flight sides, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham.

However, Appleton has encouraged his key players to forget about the speculation as a Premier League move would not be in either's best interests.

"I think the most important thing for them to do at the minute is to do it here," he said.

"Why would you want to go to a Championship club right now when the reality is you might be on the bench each Saturday?

"There is going to be interest I have no doubt about that. As it stands they both potentially have very good careers," he added.

It is not difficult to understand why the former Blackpool boss is so keen to keep hold of two of his biggest talents. Between them, the pair have contributed 11 goals in League Two, with Roofe's tally of eight making him the team's top goalscorer. 

And although the team sit at the top of the table in their division, the two sides directly below them have exactly the same number of points, while fourth placed Accrington Stanley are five points back of the trio with a game in hand. 

Losing two such important players midway through the campaign could wreck the club's chances of remaining in the promotion hunt, hence why Appleton is so determined to prevent their exits. 

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