THE games will come thick and fast in Sky Bet League One this season and Oxford United boss Karl Robinson is tempering expectations.

The U’s kick-off the third tier campaign at Lincoln City tomorrow, more than a month after the usual start date of the first weekend of August.

This time last year United had already played ten matches in all competitions and were about to embark on an 18-match unbeaten run.

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But they travel to Sincil Bank off the back of a truncated close season, while the game comes less than nine weeks since the play-off final defeat to Wycombe Wanderers.

Although Robinson has been pleased with United’s preparation, he admits the early stages of the season will be a learning curve.

He said: “I think this is a good time to play us.

“We’re going to get better and there’s still signings to be made.

“We’re also going to get fitter, as we’ve obviously not had as long as everybody else in pre-season to iron out one or two things.

“But it doesn’t mean to say we’re not confident.”

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As well as the late start – and the absence of fans – United have another unknown to contend with in 2020/21.

It is the first campaign that League One clubs will be subject to a salary cap, which limits spending to £2.5million per season on areas such as player wages, bonuses and agents’ fees.

United say they are prepared for the new rule, which only covers squad members aged over 21, but it means they must think more carefully than ever about who they bring in.

It is one of the reasons Robinson is not setting too much stall over some pre-season predictions that put United among the favourites for promotion.

He said: “The expectation we put on ourselves never changes, but it’s nice people talk about us like that.

“It’s probably going to be more difficult this year than ever before, but it doesn’t mean we’re not going to be competitive.”

He added: “The salary cap has big implications on what you can and can’t do, but we’re calm.

“That’s been the message at the football club over the past two years and that can’t change under all types of pressure.”

Lincoln, managed by ex-U’s boss Michael Appleton, are a side who will also be feeling their way through the start of the season.

The Imps have not played a league game since the EFL season was halted in March and have since added 12 summer signings.

It means United are likely to face a very different side to the one they beat 6-0 in this fixture last September, which was a club record away triumph.

A trip to Sincil Bank is rarely as straightforward as it was for the U’s that day and is followed by visits from Championship outfit Watford, in the Carabao Cup, and Sunderland within seven days.

It is a difficult start to the campaign on paper, but Robinson believes this season could throw up a few surprises.

He said: “You don’t know who’s going to be up or down there, so right now everyone’s at the same level.

“We’ve got to take every game as it comes and be ready when the whistle goes on Saturday.”