KARL Robinson has no regrets over standing firm to keep Curtis Nelson at Oxford United last summer.

The centre back will be offered a new contract after meeting the club this week.

An agreement now would be a surprise, after a campaign where several attempts to agree fresh terms with the 25-year-old floundered,

Robinson has not given up hope, but admits United cannot fulfil Nelson’s main desire – to play in the Sky Bet Championship.

He said: “Curtis is someone I would love to have here next year and he knows that.

“It’s not a money thing, this, which is great to know.

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“He has tremendous aspirations to play in the Championship and that’s what he’s said from day dot.”

Should Nelson leave, it would be as a free agent, three years after joining from Plymouth Argyle for £280,000.

United were aware 12 months ago of the risk the contract would be run down, but Robinson preferred an extra season from the defender to a potentially reduced transfer fee.

After 54 appearances – including every minute of the League One campaign – the U’s boss believes it was the right call.

But he also thinks there are more options on the market this time around.

He said: “I think it would’ve been very difficult to replace Nelse last summer.

“There wasn’t the calibre of player out there, so that was always the worry for us.

“There might be one or two out there (now), maybe that’s why he hasn’t found a club just yet either.”

He added: “In the last couple of months he’s been one of the better players and has stood up to the task of when we really needed him he was there.

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“No-one can question how he’s finished here if he does decide to move on.

“I don’t think anyone will have any regrets in that because he’s really dedicated himself to the club this year.

“I think his performances have really shown that.”

One scenario United are determined to avoid is to hang on for a decision.

The offer has a deadline, after which point they will turn attention to alternative targets.

A new deal has also been offered to Rob Hall, who earlier this week made it clear he would love to stay.

But after a season wiped out by injury, it looks like the winger will need to accept a pay cut.

Robinson said: “He will be offered a contract, but as you can imagine it’s not what he would have been (on) before.

“He knows and was very receptive to that.”