KARL Robinson admits Oxford United’s lack of progress on their key transfers this summer is becoming hugely frustrating.

Despite a concerted effort, time is now running out to get the squad in place before the Sky Bet League One campaign kicks off next weekend.

Another three players are required, including the two highest priorities of the summer – a striker and a centre back.

Robinson was in Belgium this week to speak with a target, which was not the only such trip United have made to the continent this month.

And the head coach acknowledged it was a daily struggle.

“It does do your head in,” he said.

“There’s no point me coming out and saying everything’s perfect.

“There’s elements of you that worry and other elements stay calm.

“It depends what day it is. Sometimes I’m quite cool with it and roll with the punches, but there are others where you think ‘come on, give me a bit of luck’.

“Everybody at the club is working extremely hard, it’s not through a lack of effort from anybody.”

He added: “If I was a fan I’d be sat there going ‘wow, our core looks good’, but I’d also be saying ‘we also look really weak and flaky in certain areas and we need reinforcements’.”

Getting to this late stage of the summer means a lack of time for new faces to settle in and adapt to the game plan before the season starts.

There is also the risk they are short of match fitness, but Robinson felt that was less of an issue with the players on their hit-list.

But getting them over the line before the final warm-up game, at Solihull Moors tomorrow, would be of significant value.

He said: “The players we’re speaking to are all playing (in pre-season).

“We’d just like them to play some minutes in our team on Saturday.”

The one silver-lining is the senior vacancies have been filled in pre-season by the squad’s younger players.

Fabio Lopes, Nico Jones, Kyran Lofthouse and Malachi Napa have all been regulars over the past month.

It is unlikely to fill the gap immediately – although Shandon Baptiste took his chance with both hands 12 months ago to burst into the side – but Robinson believes it will reap benefits in the longer term.

He said: “What was really pleasing was we finished the game against Fulham this week with seven or eight players who play in our under 23s.

“It’s frustrating we’re not getting players in, but the beauty about that is our young players’ development has been accelerated.

“Some of them have probably had the best pre-season they could have wished to have, because they’ve been pushed forward.

“I’ve seen a tremendous growth in our young players and it stands us in good stead moving forward.”