KARL Robinson admits he has been given a big headache over his recruitment plans by Oxford United’s mounting injuries.

The squad has been depleted in the past week, losing Alex Gorrin and Josh Ruffels until October with ankle and shoulder problems respectively.

More on John Mousinho’s knee issue, which forced him off against Watford on Tuesday, should be known today, but the U’s were instantly concerned.

It complicates the club’s strategy for the transfer window, which still has four weeks to run.

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They have earmarked a significant proportion of their remaining budget in the salary cap on a high-quality left winger.

But the news Ruffels will be out for three to five weeks leaves United, who were already planning to bring in a reserve left back, with a dilemma.

Robinson, United’s head coach, said: “It really throws me a curveball.

“My plan with the salary cap is to bring in a left winger who is substantial within our wage cap.

“That’s our plan to still do that.

“Our left back was going to be a young one who was under the salary cap as a good prospect who could push Ruffs.

“Now I need them ready to go and make us strong, but then if I go really strong I’m holding a lot of money in one position for two players.

“It is a real game of chess right now.

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“The different permutations thrown in front of us are quite remarkable.

“We’ve spoken to players in different categories to see where that sits within our budget.”

United also have to be aware of the cap on senior players – those who turned 21 before this calendar year.

Clubs can only carry a squad of 22 and they already have 21 who count.

With the left winger likely to qualify, it means if United wanted to sign cover for Ruffels or Mousinho, they would have to either be a young player, or one of the existing group would be loaned out.

An alternative is if Mousinho was ruled out for months, United could leave him out of their registered squad until the new year.

But it would mean if the club captain returned to fitness earlier in the winter, he could not feature.

Robinson said: “If he is out until January, he would be dragged out of the squad and wouldn’t be an official squad in our salary cap.

“You’ve just got to make sure the answer is correct.”

He added: “It’s a big headache right now.”