DERICK Osei has been left out of Oxford United's registered squad to make room for a free agent.

The summer signing has scored twice in the EFL Trophy this season, but boss Karl Robinson is keen to add more experience in the forward line.

It comes as the squad was hit by a new injury, with Sam Winnall left out of tonight's game with MK Dons due to a minor hamstring issue.

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United had until today to register 'senior' players with the EFL, who permit squads of up to 22 under new rules brought in this season.

Leaving Osei out gives the U's a group of 21 who count, so there is room to bring in an out-of-contract player.

The French striker will then be able to go on loan to a non-league club, but under the regulations will be eligible to come back and play cup competitions.

Robinson said: "We’ve put 21 in. Derick’s not made that.

"We know he can nick a goal every now and again.

"We have Sam Winnall and Matty (Taylor), but we think with opening that up we might be able to do one more who can play right across the front three.

"We just have to wait and see if that materialises. We’re speaking to one or two, we’ll see.

"Derick would go to the Conference ideally. He can still play in all the cup competitions.

"He keeps his development going – what’s the point in a young striker sat on the bench or in the stands every week?

"This way he can go out and play and if we need him in cup competitions he can play."

Joel Cooper has been drafted on to the bench tonight despite playing 90 minutes - and scoring twice - for the under 21s this afternoon.

It is to replace Winnall, who is not deemed worth the risk.

Robinson said: "We are trying to get people up to speed without a pre-season.

"That’s always a big gamble when you do that – we’re talking about bringing in another player and that’s always going to be the fear, that we get them back too quickly.

"We have just got to wait and see how it settles down tomorrow. I’m not willing to risk him tonight."