CONTROL what you can control – that is the message Karl Robinson is relaying to his Oxford United players.

With five matches of their season remaining, the U’s still have an outside chance of reaching the Sky Bet League One play-offs.

United are seventh, three points shy of the top six, but every team around them has a game in hand – other than tomorrow’s visitors Gillingham.

It means the U’s are relying on their rivals to slip up, while they will almost certainly need to win four of their final five matches to stand a chance of extending their campaign.

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One thing in their favour is momentum, thanks to heavy wins over Crewe Alexandra and Shrewsbury Town in the last week.

It saw United reach their points target for their last five-game block and Robinson is preferring to concentrate on internal goals.

The U’s head coach said: “The last two results have given people external to the building positivity.

“It’s the first game of the last group of five and we know what our target is.

“If we reach it, that’s the only thing that matters to us.

“What everyone else does has no relevance.”

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He added: “It’s a different set of circumstances when you’re trying to run away from somebody, rather than trying to catch somebody.

“It’s part of our role as staff to disconnect ourselves from the race.

“We turn our focus into what results we need.

“If you start focusing on the league table, your results will 100 per cent be negative.”

It is remarkable United are still in the play-off hunt after their poor start to the season, where they collected just 16 points from their first 16 games.

A seven-match winning league run was followed by an inconsistent patch, with the Crewe and Shrewsbury results their first back-to-back victories since February.

The stakes are high, but Robinson insists there is nothing to fear.

He said: “I don’t see the pressure in it, I see it as a privilege.

“We work in an industry that can make people happy or sad over an hour and a half at the weekend.

“You’ve got to see it as an incredible privilege to be competing at the top end of the table.

“If you see it as a pressure situation, you’ll starve your talent of its oxygen.

“You’ve got to embrace it.”

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United played with freedom in their last two matches and Matty Taylor reiterated the need to maintain the same level.

The striker said: “The results surprise us each week, you think you’re a little bit adrift and you see a few strange results.

“We’ve been on the end of quite a few, so we’ve just got to try and be as consistent as possible.

“If we keep playing how we have done we’ll get a few more wins, but we’ve got to concentrate and not come off that.

“You can lose games too easily at this level.”