OXFORD United are set to kick-off pre-season with their annual friendly at Oxford City this weekend.

Karl Robinson is not expected to play his strongest XI, with the squad set to be a mix of first-team players and youngsters.

But if the U’s head coach selected his best line-up, what would it be?

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As things stand, United have a first-team squad of 17 players and the available personnel probably best fits a 3-4-1-2 formation.

There is not much between Simon Eastwood and Jack Stevens in goal, but the latter has been handed the No 1 shirt and ended the season as first-choice so gets the nod.

The U’s are light in defence after McNally’s exit, with Robinson targeting another centre back and a left back.

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It means a three-man defence probably gives them the most security, so Sam Long moves inside to join Elliott Moore and Brown.

Wing back suits Steve Seddon’s strengths, while Anthony Forde can play on the right – although it shows that side needs reinforcements, too.

As a midfield pair, you cannot look beyond Alex Gorrin and Cameron Brannagan.

United were vulnerable through the middle in this formation last season, but the Spaniard is more defensive-minded and could sit back while Brannagan pushed on.

Attacking midfield was the hardest selection, with Billy Bodin and Marcus Browne both strong candidates.

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The ex-Bristol Rovers man gets the nod due to how he ended last season, with Browne a dangerous option off the bench.

It was tempting to go with 4-1-2-1-2 as you could get both players in the line-up - Bodin could join Brannagan in the midfield two - but that might be too imbalanced.

One of the reasons for playing 3-4-1-2 is to get Matty Taylor and Sam Baldock in the starting XI, after they scored eight goals combined in the four games they started together in 2021/22.

The lack of wingers also made it difficult to choose a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, which would most likely see Browne start on the left and James Henry on the right.

United could still call on the likes of Browne, James Henry and Marcus McGuane from the bench, so James Golding is the final substitute to add an extra defensive option.

United (3-4-1-2): Stevens, Long, Moore, Brown, Forde, Gorrin, Brannagan, Seddon, Bodin, Taylor, Baldock.

Substitutes: Eastwood, Golding, Mousinho, Smyth, McGuane, Henry, Browne.