SIMON Eastwood had a big hand in sending Oxford United through in the Checkatrade Trophy, before making a strong call for the club to make a decisive move on transfers.

The goalkeeper saved Cheltenham Town’s first two penalties in the shoot-out, which the U’s won 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals in a fortnight.

Cameron Brannagan put the U’s in front on the stroke of half-time with their first goal in 406 minutes.

But Kevin Dawson equalised and with the score still at 1-1 after 90 minutes, the third-round tie at Whaddon Road went to spot-kicks.

With Jamie Mackie out with a back injury, the U’s had no fit senior strikers available so used winger Gavin Whyte as a makeshift centre forward.

And Eastwood – whose words as a senior player carry plenty of weight – is hoping United, who are in the Sky Bet League One relegation zone, can make rapid progress in their hunt for extra firepower.

He said: “We had a winger playing as a forward and although he did well, we can’t be having it week-in, week-out in the league or we’re going to get punished.

“We need some strikers in the door and hopefully that will get sorted in the next couple of weeks to get us out of the position we’re in.

“There’s no getting round it, we’re in a dogfight and the sooner people realise it, the better for the club.”

“We’ve been relying on 16-year-olds who have not played before.

“When you’re in the position we’re in, it’s something to be addressed. It needs sorting.”

Boss Karl Robinson is due to watch another target when Chelsea Under 21s take on Peterborough United in the Trophy tonight.

Finding a solution to the goalscoring problem is his priority in the window, but his efforts so far have yet to yield a deal.

He said: “There’s no firm news. I’ve tried to see as many games as possible and someone will be going to watch a game in France at the weekend.

“It’s relentless and it’s the dedication you need.”

United scooped £40,000 in prize money for the victory and Robinson hailed Wayne Brown’s role in the shoot-out.

The goalkeeping coach was pointing from the touchline to give Eastwood their predictions for the direction on each penalty from the club’s analysis department.

Robinson said: “These are things that sometimes people don’t see.

“We go into that detail and I’m really pleased we have Browny here.

“He’s one of the best I’ve worked with and we’ve got one of the best keepers I’ve seen.

“To have those two I’m so lucky.”