KARL Robinson cannot understand why the Papa John’s Trophy will not stay regionalised until the final.

Oxford United will discover their quarter-final opponents when the draw is made on the EFL on Quest highlights show this Saturday night.

It is the first stage the U’s can face anyone, so a long away trip to Sunderland, Hull City or Tranmere Rovers is possible.

Until 2015/16, when United lost to Barnsley in the final, the tournament was split into northern and southern sections right up to the Wembley showpiece.

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With players already facing a punishing schedule in the condensed 2020/21 season, Robinson would have favoured a return to the competition’s previous format.

He said: “It doesn’t make sense.

“You’d think for once there would be a bit of understanding of where we’re at, but it is what it is.

“Tranmere are through and that’s a chance for me to go back home, but I can’t even see them anymore so it’s pointless.

“We waste so much energy talking up rights and wrongs during Covid.

“Should common sense have prevailed? Yes.

“But we’ll take whatever comes along.”

United could, of course, be drawn at home, but a potential trip to Lincoln City would not appeal either.

Peterborough United, MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon are the three sides left in the competition who are geographically closest.

Robinson’s side have been fortunate so far this season, with just one of their five matches in the Trophy on the road – the group-stage win at Walsall in November.

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Even if the U’s get a home tie, reaching the semi-finals would add to their congested fixture calendar.

United’s only free Tuesday before March 30 is February 16, when the last four ties are due to take place.

The final is scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, March 14, the same weekend the U’s are due to visit Sky Bet League One leaders Hull City.