KARL Robinson says it is ‘evident’ that Oxford United are going to sign a left back this summer, in order to replace Josh Ruffels.

Speaking to BBC Radio Oxford’s Wasn’t At The Game, the U’s boss said Ruffels – whose contract will expire on June 30 – is preparing for a move to the Sky Bet Championship.

The left back has been heavily linked with Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town in recent weeks, with Sky Sports reporting The Terriers are close to agreeing a move when his deal runs out.

See also: Robinson says players felt fatigued at end of season

Robinson said: “I think it’s quite evident we’re going to need a left back so that is something we’re being very aggressive with at the moment.

“We’ve looked at a lot of full backs – there’s different ones that fall under different brackets, there’s 30 plus year olds where we know what we’re going to get but is it enough?

“Is there one we can go and buy at 23 or 24 to maybe 27, and you know they’ll make you better, or do you go for the ones who might be 21 or 22 that have a tremendous ceiling, but there’s going to be a fundamental aspect of development where we might take a bit of a dip in that period of getting them up to speed.

“That’s the conundrum we have right now with that position.”

The U’s have been linked with moves for Brighton & Hove Albion’s Alex Cochrane and Eastleigh’s Joe Tomlinson as replacements for Ruffels.

21-year-old Cochrane has yet to make a breakthrough into the Brighton team, and has recently been on loan at Belgium second division side Union St Gilloise.

Tomlinson meanwhile has impressed for Eastleigh since joining from Hungerford Town.

Read more: U’s must ‘act like a Championship club’ to replace Short, says Robinson

Robinson said Ruffels was eyeing up a move up to the Championship, and that a new contract with the U’s would ‘tie him down’.

“I’ve spoke to Ruffs a lot and he wants to leave on the right terms,” said Robinson.

“He feels that tying him down to a contract takes him until he’s 30 plus, when his opportunity in the Championship may be now.

“We’ll wait and see, it’s still not done but I can’t wait no more.

“I think the world of Ruffs, he knows that and I’ve said this to him – and he thinks the world of the football club, and we have a tremendous relationship.

“He never wanted to leave and if we were in the Championship, he definitely would’ve stayed.”