OXFORD United are considering adding to their defensive resources from the pool of available free agents.

Boss Karl Robinson is still keen on bringing in an out-of-contract wide player to bolster his attacking unit.

But with centre back Rob Atkinson the latest player to head for the treatment room this week, there is a pressing need for more options – even with John Mousinho closing in on a return.

There is money to spend and still stay under the salary cap.

But the headache for Robinson is while Derick Osei was omitted from his squad when it was submitted to the EFL this month, the room for new recruits aged over 21 is limited.

“We only have one space left and I think we need two players with the injuries we’re having right now and some of the things that aren’t falling for us,” Robinson said.

“It’s evident we do need another wide player.

“We’re very short on pace, you’ve only got Mide (Shodipo) and Dan (Agyei) and with the youth of those players I’d like more of a senior one who knew how to use their pace on a consistent basis.

“Equally, you look at that back line and you do need something in there.

“But if you just go for a centre back, it doesn’t half leave you short in the left back area and the wide area.”

Robinson was impressed on Tuesday night by Ian Maatsen, who is on loan at Charlton Athletic from Chelsea.

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At 18, the left back does not count towards the salary or squad caps, but having struggled to sign anyone in that role while the window was open, it is now even harder for United.

The head coach said: “That’s the problem you have right now, those loans aren’t available because the window’s closed and there aren’t too many young players out there who will be free in the salary cap.

“We’re backed into a bit of a corner.”

Robinson is confident United will make a signing and has a shortlist of targets, but if only one can be accommodated it is a difficult decision.

He said: “There’s a centre back, a left back who can play one up and someone who can play as a nine, wide right, wide left.

“They are the three players on my desk I know would probably make us better.

“If I could bring one in I know what that one would probably be, but I’d feel very vulnerable in other positions.”