Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton saw Tyrone Barnett sign off in style with a last-minute winner in a 2-1 win over Bury at the Kassam Stadium.And he admitted he will have to wait to see whether the striker chooses Oxford when he becomes available in the January transfer window - or indeed whether Oxford can afford him.
Barnett headed home Wes Burns' right-wing cross at the end of a fast break from defence in the 90th minute as the U's came from behind in the second half to claim victory.
It was Bury's fourth successive league defeat and saw them slip further away from the Play-Off positions.
Danny Mayor had rifled the Shakers into the lead on 63 minutes.
But an own goal by Craig Jones on 69 minutes brought Oxford level, and Barnett's last-minute clincher must have been a sickener for the Gigg Lane outfit.
On-loan Peterborough striker Barnett now returns to London Road under the terms of his loan agreement.
Appleton said: "The ball seemed to be in the air an age, but credit to Tyrone, he kept his composure, and I was delighted for all of us, players, staff and fans, when it hit the back of the net.
"When he joined us we could only get him on a 93-day loan, and that's now at an end.
"So he'll return to Peterborough for a couple of weeks and we'll see where we are.
"I'm sure we'll be part of a group of clubs looking at trying to sign him in January, if we can.
"We certainly wouldn't be able to afford the kind of money that was first being talked about last summer, but we'll have to wait and see.
"It's an opportunity for others in the building to stake a claim for that central striker's position."
Appleton was delighted with the way Oxford passed the ball in the opening 45 minutes.
"In the first half we played very well and passed it well, on not a great pitch at times. We had a bigger attendance than normal and it was pleasing, because I'd like to think we have tried to entertain the fans."
He added: "They scored with their first shot at goal but we showed great character in the way we came back.
"It was two competitive sides out there, and when we got the equaliser you could see both teams wanted to get the winner."