RETAINING as many of the the existing squad as possible will be as vital for Oxford United as new signings this summer, according to Karl Robinson.

Back-to-back wins over Easter maintained the U’s stellar run, which has netted them 26 points from the last 11 games.

No side in Sky Bet League One has collected more over that period, while they have the sixth best return since mid-October.

Having found a winning formula, Robinson believes only minor adjustments would be needed in the close season to mount a play-off challenge next term.

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But crucially that would depend on keeping the vast majority of this group intact.

The head coach said: “If he (chairman Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth) allowed me to bring in three or four players and lets me keep everyone I’ve got, I’d back myself and this team. That’s just as important as bringing players in.

“Obviously certain loan players would go back, but don’t forget you could add Hally (Rob Hall) to that and Shandon (Baptiste), who have been injured.

“If you look at our results since October when Simon Eastwood came back in it’s been a play-off team.”

United are due to hold a board meeting before Saturday’s final home game of the season on Saturday, where recruitment is likely to figure prominently.

They have 13 senior players contracted beyond this summer.

Eight deals expire in June, although John Mousinho has triggered an appearance clause which allows a 12-month extension.

Of the rest, the biggest name is Curtis Nelson, who lost the captaincy in September due to a lack of progress over contract talks.

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The centre back looks likely to leave on a free, although Robinson has not completely given up hope ahead of one-on-one meetings with all the squad in the next week.

“You’d love him to stay, he’s been a man mountain,” the U’s boss said.

Losing Nelson, particularly for nothing, would be a blow and Robinson is determined to hang on to as many other assets as possible.

He said: “I think if I was a fan the infuriating thing is over the last few years the club’s got rid of certain players for fees and not really built a team.

“I think Michael (Appleton) was the last manager to actually do it.

“Since then you’ve sold a lot of players.

“I think it’s a case of really homing in on the players we need, addressing keeping hold of them, making them understand our ambitions and building on that.”

Another six are on loan, but preliminary enquiries have been made about Marcus Browne, Jerome Sinclair and Ahmed Kashi for next season.


  • Rob Hall
  • *John Mousinho
  • Curtis Nelson
  • Jon Obika
  • Charlie Raglan
  • Scott Shearer
  • Jonte Smith
  • *Jack Stevens

*Option for additional year


  • Marcus Browne
  • Samir Carruthers
  • Luke Garbutt
  • Jordan Graham
  • Ahmed Kashi
  • Jerome Sinclair