KARL Robinson says Garath McCleary has been mentioned as a potential target for Oxford United this summer.

The winger came close to joining the U's last summer before being brought back into the fold at Reading.

He is though now a free agent after the Royals opted against offering the 33-year-old a new deal.

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McCleary impressed in a warm-up game against the U's in June and Robinson remains an admirer, but there is a feeling he may have options in the Championship.

"He is a player we've spoken about and one that we like," the head coach said.

"He played against us in the practice game and he was very good.

"What you don't want to do is over-spend in this situation or find a player who can only play 20 games and you've maxed your budget out for that position.

"I think if he was willing to move he'd be a player we'd speak about.

"The geographical aspect helps everybody, but I'm sure we won't be the only team in this area that will try to get his signature.

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"He also lives close to Wycombe and that would be a chance for him to stay in the Championship.

"I'm sure that would be a conversation they're already having."

McCleary would bring experience, something the squad have lost in the wake of Jamie Mackie's retirement.

While Robinson has not ruled out bringing in an older head to the squad, he believes replacing the veteran forward's character will be impossible.

He said: "If there's one out there we'll do that, but we're not going to sign a player just to fill that void (in the changing room).

"We'll sign a player to fill the void with what Jamie brought us on the pitch. That's his work ethic and endeavour.

"You will never replace Jamie Mackie, he's a one-off.

"You'd have to go to the moon or Mars to get someone who is even close to Jamie Mackie's personality."