A CENTRE back is now higher on Oxford United’s wish-list in the transfer market than a left back, according to boss Karl Robinson.

The club have been forced into a re-think in the last few days, following a knee injury picked up by John Mousinho against Watford in the Carabao Cup last week.

An initial scan was not encouraging, but the club captain is due to see a specialist today to get a better understanding of the damage.

While Robinson is expected to reveal more later this week, the feeling is Mousinho will miss enough of the first half of the season to warrant bringing in cover.

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And that need has now overtaken the issue at left back, where Josh Ruffels is making good progress from a shoulder injury.

The U’s head coach said: “It wasn’t great news (on Mousinho), but we’re not going to commit publicly on what we think it is.

“We want a second opinion on that, but as we sit right now it’s not what we wanted.

“I think a centre back is more of a priority than a left back right now.”

If Mousinho’s knock is serious, United would likely not register him for the first half of the campaign.

That way he would not count towards the number of senior players in the squad – which as things stand only has one vacancy under the new rules – and his wages would not count towards the salary cap.

Left back cover is still required, although Robinson promoted Michael Elechi to the bench after being impressed by the 18-year-old from the youth team.

And the head coach has told the club’s youngsters that the unusual circumstances with coronavirus can open the door for those who are ready.

He said: “Michael’s done really well.

“We felt it’s a position we needed, so that’s why we went with that.

“I had a meeting with all the young players.

“Right now we’ve got so many injuries and especially with Covid-19, you have so many people going down with colds that you have to leave out of the building.

“Then they get tested to see if they’re OK or not.

“So it’s their best opportunity, if they stay fit, they stay in my eye and keep working hard, they might just get an opportunity to come on the bench and impact the first team.

“But we’re still looking for people to fill those voids and we’re still looking to bring people in.”