KARL Robinson has ruled out bringing in an experienced centre half before the transfer window closes on Friday.

Oxford United have gone 13 games without keeping a clean sheet, a run extended by Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Gillingham.

They have not been helped by injuries since Rob Dickie’s sale to QPR last month, which have prevented the head coach from naming a settled back four.

Rob Atkinson missed the trip to Priestfield with a groin problem, but is expected to be fit for tomorrow night’s rearranged home game against Crewe Alexandra.

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John Mousinho (knee) is expected to be available later this month.

And Robinson made it clear if he was going to sign a central defender this week, they would be one with an eye on the future.

He said: “It’s weird though, people talk about defensive cover but we fundamentally only had last year Rob Dickie, Elliott Moore and John Mousinho, with Longy (Sam Long) as our fourth choice.

“It’s just as we sit now two of our centre backs are out injured.

“Longy’s gone in and done a good job, so it proves we have four people who can play in that position.

In pictures: United's trip to Gillingham

“If you were asking me, I’d like another one we could bring in under the age cap (21) and maybe work with them for maybe when Elliott or Rob move on.

“They are the things we’re looking at and they’re the things we’ve got to get right this week.”

Nico Jones came off the bench in the EFL Trophy last week, but Robinson believes he is not ready for regular first-team football.

It meant despite Atkinson’s absence, United did not name a specialist centre back on the bench for the trip to Kent.

Robinson revealed the back-up plan if one of the starting central defenders had been forced off.

He said: “Ruffs (Josh Ruffels) would have gone in there and Fordey (Anthony Forde) would have gone to left back.

“We had Jamie Hanson as well, he was our cover.

“He’s played all the way across the back four in the Championship, so he’s done a lot more than him (Jones).”