PAT Lyons has seen enough from his time at Oxford United to believe something special could be on the cards this season.

United interim boss Craig Short brought in his former Derby County colleague following Liam Manning’s exit last week.

Lyons has assisted Short and the U’s coaching staff in training, and was in the dugout for the 3-2 win at Leyton Orient on Saturday.

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“Craig gave me a call as things were happening quickly, and obviously I worked with him at Derby for quite a long time,” said Lyons.

“I’d been working there for 14 years and I’m just on a bit of a break at the minute, so he phoned me and said ‘do you want to come down and join me for a few weeks?’.

“I jumped at the chance. We’ve got a good rapport with each other and we understand each other.”

Reflecting on his first few days at United, Lyons quickly picked up on a special feeling at the club, despite the departure of Manning to Bristol City.

He said: “What a great culture the club has. I walked in and felt so welcome.

“The club have been fantastic, and all the players have welcomed me and made me feel settled.

“Usually when a manager goes, it’s when the side is struggling, and they need a lift and some confidence.

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“I walked in and there was a very confident group, a very assured group, and a great group with humility, that want to achieve something this year.

“You can tell there’s a real buzz within the training ground and you can see that something is trying to happen this season.”

Lyons stepped down as senior professional development phase coach at Pride Park in July, after 14 years with the Rams.

The last eight of those years were spent in charge of the Under-21s, with Sheffield United’s Max Lowe, Rams midfielder Max Bird and Plymouth Argyle forward Morgan Whittaker among those to have come through the Derby youth system in recent years.

Lyons said: “I put my notice in at Derby and wanted a new challenge, and I’m just seeing what comes up and where I go.

“This opportunity that came up was great for me, and I’m learning again and I’ve got the taste for it.

“I’d been there for 14 years, so just to take a step back for a few months is quite nice and this has definitely rekindled that love for the game.”

On his role on the touchline at Orient, Lyons said: “Football’s football, so you see things on the pitch even though you might not know the players week in, week out. I’ve got to know them a little bit and looked a lot of video stuff.”