OXFORD United want to keep George Thorne for the rest of the season – if a discount can be agreed on their deal with Derby County.

The 27-year-old’s loan, agreed in August, has officially expired.

It has not gone to plan, with Thorne playing just 62 minutes across three games so far for United.

The midfielder was just starting to show his quality when he suffered a dislocated shoulder against West Ham United in September.

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Thorne’s recovery has taken place with the U’s rather than his parent club and he is close to being able to play again.

Head coach Karl Robinson believes the former England under 19 international has something to offer.

But the U’s are looking for a cut in the proportion of his wages which they have paid so far.

Robinson said: “If it’s a minimal cost one then he’s a tremendous person to have around the building.

“He’s one of the focal points of the squad, one of the jovial, experienced ones.

“He’s a top player, I think everyone at the club saw in the two games he played he was so unlucky.

“We know it works for him geographically and if Derby want to work with us it would be something we’d probably do, but it would have to be on our terms, rather than theirs.

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“We have footed the bill while he’s been injured. It’s nobody’s fault but we’ll have to wait and see.”

If Thorne could put his fitness problems behind him, there is little doubt he would be an asset as United push for promotion in Sky Bet League One.

“You just don’t know what you might need him for,” Robinson said.

“The longer the season goes on when the legs start tiring and pitches open up and dry out I think it would become apparent he’s a good player and something we would need.

“I think he would be up for it, he loves it here.”

He added: “He’s got the bit between his teeth.

“I’m really big on good people and he fits in really well with the way we want to do things.”

United are pushing on multiple fronts to get their first deal of the transfer window over the line.

Robinson revealed at the weekend he expected a couple of fresh faces in before Saturday’s meeting with Rotherham United.

But with the squad being given Monday and Tuesday off to recover from the festive period, the targets have not yet missed out on any preparation time ahead of the clash with their promotion rivals.

Everyone is back in today.