OXFORD United are preparing to lose Rob Dickie during the summer transfer window.

The calls from interested clubs have already started to head coach Karl Robinson, who thinks keeping the centre back is very unlikely.

Championship trio Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Fulham have all been recently linked with the 24-year-old, who has made huge strides in the past 18 months.

Premier League pair Southampton and Burnley were also reportedly keeping tabs on him in the spring, with a valuation of £2-3million mentioned.

Crucially, he only has 12 months left on the contract he signed last summer, so if United are going to realise his value a deal needs to be done in this window.

Speaking on Friday, Robinson said: “I’ve had a conversation today that blew me away when you think of the size of this club that would be interested in the likes of Rob.

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“You can’t keep that player if these clubs come in, so re-spend it to give yourself the greatest opportunity to build again for the future.”

He added: “To be honest, I don’t think it’s right to keep Rob back.”

Dickie joined United in January 2018 as he looked for somewhere to settle down after failing to break into Reading’s first team.

Although it took him time, regular football has seen him develop over 113 games into a defender who is strong off the ball and accomplished on it.

Robinson handed Dickie, voted player of the season by U’s fans, the captain’s armband in February to help develop his leadership skills.

And it could turn out that his final appearance was in leading the U’s out at Wembley.

Robinson felt the Sky Bet League One play-off final defeat to Wycombe Wanderers hit Dickie harder than most.

He said: “When I saw the state he was in last Monday, that’s why I made him the captain.

“He was in a world of pain and was devastated.

“To know what could be round the corner with the moves people are talking about, to still think you care that much just shows the type of man he is.

“He will always be someone I’ll look back on as one of the nicest young men I’ve ever worked with.

“But keeping hold of him is going to be extremely difficult.”

The key for the U’s boss is drawing the line at Dickie, with the club having lost two key men to higher division sides for each of the past four summers.

Robinson said: “I’d like to think Rob would be the only one.”