KARL Robinson is looking forward to some difficult conversations as the competition in Oxford United’s squad hots up.

Sam Long and Billy Bodin returned to the bench against Wycombe Wanderers last weekend, while the U’s are due to make late decisions on Elliott Moore and Sam Winnall for tomorrow’s trip to Cheltenham Town.

It increases the options available to Robinson, but there will inevitably be some disappointed players when the U’s head coach announces his team for the Sky Bet League One clash.

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And he does not mind if some of them make their feelings known.

Robinson said: “I want them to be angry, frustrated, not to like me, and wanting to prove me wrong.

“Sometimes that’s doing your job right.

“They’re all emotional responses to a decision, so it’s not something that worries me.

“If you’ve got good players, you’re going to have to upset them at some stage.

“That’s part and parcel of management and having a good squad.”

The tough decisions are likely to be in defence, with Long competing with Anthony Forde at right back.

Moore, if fit, could replace Luke McNally in the middle and Robinson will be honest with his players.

He said: “I never lose any sleep over picking the team.

“You do it with an awful lot of empathy and a sense of respect to the person you’re speaking to.

“In the early days you were fearful of making those decisions and maybe you’d make things up that weren’t overly believable.

“The longer you do it you’re not overly worried about people falling out with you, because you know you’re making that decision for the benefit of the football club.”

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Forde has shown his usual versatility this season, starting six games at right back in Long’s absence.

Robinson said: “Fordey’s been outstanding.

“Someone asked for his position on the golf day (on Wednesday) and he said ‘right back, left back, right midfield, left midfield, centre midfield’.

“It’s almost like he could earn a contract at this club for as long as he wants, because he gives you that flexibility.

“His personality and the way he is in the dressing room is exceptional.

“He’s a talented individual with a tremendous work ethic.”