KARL Robinson’s response to a blank weekend for Oxford United was predictable – watch as many other matches as possible.

He will have been a recognisable figure in the stands at Salford City and Tranmere Rovers, with no shortage of people interested in chatting to the head coach.

And the feedback which came Robinson’s way was music to his ears.

“I’ve been to a few games this week and every scout has been saying how they like watching us play,” he said.

“But the one thing that people also say is we have a little nasty side to us as well and we don’t care who we upset.

Also read: Chris Cadden's future at Oxford United 'out of his control'

“We’re trying to build a siege mentality with the fans and the players and sometimes you have to do things that are borderline not great, but you’re there to win.

“I think we have both sides of that and it will certainly be tested at the weekend.”

Southend United are a shorter price to get relegated with bookmakers than Bolton Wanderers, who started the season on -12 points.

The Shrimpers have won just once in Sky Bet League One, collecting a single point in front of their home fans.

It is a role reversal from United’s trip to Roots Hall last season, when the visitors dug out an ugly goalless draw to stop the rot.

Also read: Ex-Oxford United midfielder Peter Leven on brink of history in Belarus

Although they dropped to the foot of the table as a result, it was the start of a fightback and Robinson expects the grit his side showed that afternoon will be on show from Sol Campbell’s side.

Robinson said: “It was a ‘close your eyes and hope for the best’ game.

“But I remember going into the dressing room and we all said ‘that could be an important point if we can build on it’.

“We know what it’s like to be down there, that was us last season and we ended up doing all right.

“They certainly have the players to do that, it’s just a case of us finding a way around it to make sure we’re better than the opposition.”

Coming out on top is likely to need that nasty streak – and it starts from the front.

While Jamie Mackie misses the game through suspension, United have Matty Taylor to lead the line.

Robinson said: “They’re streetfighters.

“There’s an edge to them, they’ve both been suspended because of that.

Also read: Oxford United working to blow away the cobwebs after break

“As a manager you (want to) know you have players who are willing to fight for each other and fight for the club.”

He added: “When you say nasty, you never want a player to be hurt, but I think people sometimes think we’re a nice club.

“But looking back at that Oxford team in the 1980s there were names you wouldn’t have wanted to mess with.

“All the best teams in the world have an edge. It’s something you have to find that separates you from the rest.”