JOHN Mousinho’s latest knee flare-up is not causing Oxford United great concern – but boss Karl Robinson will keep speaking to the club captain about his future.

The U’s skipper received treatment on his right knee 30 minutes into last Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over Northampton Town, before being substituted at half-time.

Seeing the 34-year-old on the deck immediately set alarm bells ringing after he was sidelined for six weeks earlier in the season with a problem that will eventually require surgery.

A scan showed little extra harm had been done, but the injury was another reminder that United must carefully manage the centre-back’s involvement.

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Mousinho has been helping out as part of Robinson’s backroom staff and the U’s head coach revealed the pair were in constant dialogue over the captain’s next steps.

He said: “There’s no great damage done in comparison to what he already had.

“We’ve had long conversations over the last couple of weeks about where the next stage of his career and life is going to be.

“He knows I want him here alongside us.

“He really cares for Oxford United and I really need those people around, it’s got to be a massive part of who you are to care for the football club you work for.

“Is it the last time we’ve seen him play? We don’t know.

“These are conversations me and him will have internally and see what’s best for his life moving forward.”

John Mousinho: I'm savouring every Oxford United appearance

Mousinho admitted before the Northampton clash that he was savouring every United game as he nears the end of his career.

The defender has made almost 550 appearances across 15 years as a professional, including 132 for the U’s since signing from Burton Albion in August 2017.

He played 34 times in United’s run to last season’s Sky Bet League one play-off final, but has been used sparingly since returning from the knee injury he sustained in September’s Carabao Cup second round defeat to Watford.

Mousinho will at some point need surgery to fix the problem, but until that becomes urgent he can choose when to go under the knife.

He said last week: “That’s just going to be determined in terms of my career – how much I’m needed here, the state of the season and whatever I want to do long-term.”