AARON Martin has signed a two-year deal for League One new boys Oxford United.

The former Saints and Eastleigh defender was snapped up by Us boss Michael Appleton who admitted to being surprised the 26-year-old had been released by Coventry City in May.

Tony Mowbray, manager of the Sky Blues, said the decision to let Martin go had been a tough one but he had done it because he was looking for a more physical-style defender.

Martin, who was born on the Isle of Wight and grew up in Southampton, was not short on offers but the style Appleton wants United to play swung it in their favour.

Martin said: “I like to bring the ball out from the back.

“I think he (Appleton) has seen that from me last year – that was a massive thing for me and is what made my mind up really.

“If you ask a lot of the Coventry fans I think they were quite surprised that the decision(to release me) came along.

“I think this summer has shown I’ve had a good season because I did have a lot of options, but I chose to come here and work hard.

“I will give everything and hope we get promoted.”

Martin was handed his first taste of senior football by former Eastleigh boss Ian Baird before getting his professional break with Southampton in 2009.

After loan spells with Salisbury City, Crystal Palace and Coventry, his Saints contract was ended by mutual consent in January 2014.

Stays with Birmingham City and Yeovil Town followed before he penned an 18-month contract for Coventry in January last year.