A NEAR-PERFECT October has taken its toll on Oxford United, but if Karl Robinson could have hand-picked a fixture for tomorrow it would have been a trip to Fratton Park.

The Hampshire venue has not been kind to Robinson, who suffered a 3-0 defeat in his first U’s game which was followed by a 4-1 thrashing at the start of last season.

And the team bus will head down the A34 with plenty of problems this time around.

Already missing six players to injury, several others were running on fumes by the end of Tuesday’s draining Carabao Cup clash against Sunderland.

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But in that context, Robinson reckons a visit to one of Sky Bet League One’s biggest atmospheres is just what the doctor ordered.

He said: “It’s a bang of adrenalin.

“I remember the first tackle last year, I think it was (Ben) Thompson hit one of our players and you could hear it.

“It set the tone for the rest of the game. We know it will be a hard one, but we’re ready for it.

“It’s a perfect game, a great game. It’s one you look for at the start of the season and know it will be a hell-for-leather game.”

The new fitness concerns are to wingers Tariqe Fosu and Rob Hall.

While Hall is managing a minor ankle problem after being on the receiving end of a poor tackle in the first half in midweek, Fosu’s issue is purely fatigue.

The 23-year-old has been a livewire this season, but ran out of steam dramatically against Sunderland.

His usual turn of speed was missing late on and it was almost a surprise he had the energy to walk from the centre circle to the penalty area when it came to the shoot-out.

Robinson said: “He looked dead on his feet and there’s a good chance he might not play on Saturday.

“We have to manage him properly.

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“I got carried away at Charlton when we were doing really well and I kept playing him and then he broke down for six weeks and then four weeks.

“We’ll see what we do with that.”

United plan to take a 20-man squad to the game, with one of Fosu, Hall and Chris Cadden likely to make the bench.

With cup games and the potential for the Ipswich Town clash being called off for international call-ups, this could be the U’s last league game for three weeks.

So there is a temptation to ask key players to dig deep before getting a well-earned rest.

“It is one big push,” Robinson said.

“I think on Sunday and Monday it will hit us like a ton of bricks.”