KARL Robinson would prefer to look in-house if Oxford United need short-term reinforcements.

The U's are yet to confirm the severity of injuries suffered by Elliot Lee and Sam Long against Peterborough United last night.

But if both players join James Henry, Sam Winnall, Marcus McGuane and John Mousinho on the sidelines, United would have just 17 first-team players available for Saturday's visit of Charlton Athletic.

The U's coaching staff will have a meeting to decide the best course of action to avoid further injuries, including potentially reducing contact in training.

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Robinson was asked whether bringing in out-of-contract players was an option, but revealed his first port of call would be United's age-group sides. 

The U's head coach said: “It’s a possibility, but I’d much rather look into the youth set-up short-term.

"Part of the conversation will be to see if any of the young players are able to come in and compete with the players we’ve already got in the squad.”

United gave game-time to several youngsters in the early rounds of this season's Papa John's Trophy, with Leon Chambers-Parillon, Nico Jones, Michael Elechi, Kyran Lofthouse and Gatlin O'Donkor all getting minutes.

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But Robinson knows the decision to bring a youth player in for a clash against a Sky Bet League One play-off rival cannot be taken lightly.

He said: “Sometimes you have to be careful, because them getting an opportunity through default might give false hope.

"We’ve got some very good young players but some of them aren’t quite ready, so we’ve got to make sure we will use them at the right times.

"Sometimes you give people a small glimpse of the first team and that gets people extremely excited.

"All of a sudden the weight of the decision could be a negative down the line.

"We’ll take stock and we’ll feel if anyone deserves it we’ll certainly do that."