KARL Robinson says he ‘underestimated’ Jordan Thorniley – and has not ruled out trying to sign the centre back on a permanent deal.

The 24-year-old has been one of Oxford United’s top performers since arriving on a season-long loan from Blackpool a week before the campaign began.

Fresh from helping the Tangerines win promotion from Sky Bet League One last term, Thorniley has started all eight U’s matches in the third tier to date.

Robinson is a big fan and even compared him to assistant manager Craig Short, who played in the Premier League with Everton and Blackburn Rovers.

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United’s head coach said: “Jordan’s a warrior, he’s a throwback.

“I’m not sure whether he’s Shorty’s son, because he looks like him and he also plays like him.

“He wears the battle scars very well. He’s in the wrong era, but he’s a lovely footballer.

“He’s been exceptional and one that I’m really excited about.

“I underestimated him – he does things that most people wouldn’t dream of doing and that’s where he will get a lot of injuries.

“Shorty calls it brave and I call it stupid – I think it’s a mix of both.”

Asked about the possibility of buying Thorniley, Robinson said: “We’ll see, you know how we do things.

“It’s not something we want to talk about externally, but you’d imagine by my comments how much I like him.”

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Thorniley’s contract expires next summer, although Blackpool have the option to extend his deal by a further 12 months.

United’s defence has had its fair share of injuries, but the former Everton trainee and fellow summer signing Steve Seddon have been the two ever-presents in League One.

Thorniley did not make a League One appearance until January 26 last season, but became a regular as the Seasiders went up via the play-offs.

Blackpool manager Neil Critchley is keeping a close eye on Thorniley’s progress, as well as fellow loanee Ethan Robson at MK Dons.

He told the Blackpool Gazette: “Ethan and Jordan were brilliant for me last season and they wanted to go and play on a regular basis, which was the right thing for them to do.

“We shall keep in contact with them and we shall keep watching them, because they’re still contracted to us.”