IT is not even a week since Oxford United’s season ended and there is already uncertainty over the future of two key players.

For months, it has looked like Josh Ruffels’ contract situation would not be sorted until the U’s knew what division they would be in next season, while Rob Atkinson’s breakthrough campaign was always likely to attract interest from Sky Bet Championship clubs like Bristol City.

United will want to keep both players, although selling Atkinson is more understandable – if maybe a year too early – as it fits the club’s trading model.

Read also: Oxford United want Josh Ruffels to make contract decision

Losing Ruffels would be more frustrating, as the U’s would not get any money for a left back in his prime.

That is why this aggressive attitude to recruitment that Karl Robinson often mentions must extend to the players already in the building.

It is encouraging to see the club take the initiative with Ruffels, telling the defender to make a decision so they can get on with planning their summer transfer business.

Read also: Bristol City target Rob Atkinson - reports

Meanwhile, City are understood to have been surprised at United’s high valuation for Atkinson.

Considering his potential and the fact he has two years left on his contract, the U’s have every right to set the bar high.

That is the attitude United need if they are to take that next step.