KARL Robinson admitted Cameron Brannagan’s expected departure to Blackpool did not help Oxford United’s hunt for attacking reinforcements this week.

But the U’s head coach says it is not the only reason he was short of forward players for their opening-day defeat at Derby County.

New signing Josh Murphy was United’s only senior attacker on the bench at Pride Park, with teenagers Tyler Goodrham and Gatlin O’Donkor also among the substitutes.

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The U’s were without the injured Sam Baldock and Yanic Wildschut, while winger Jodi Jones was not registered in time following his transfer on Friday.

But for 24 hours United’s only focus was on bringing in a midfielder after Blackpool triggered the seven-figure release clause in Brannagan’s contract on Wednesday night.

Robinson was resigned to losing the 26-year-old, only for the No 8 to sign a new deal with the U’s on Thursday.

He said: “I think 48 hours of chaos was certainly not a great factor at such a late stage, especially when it’s something you’ve worked on all week.

“Our focus all day Thursday was nothing other than getting this position filled.

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“It was so important we brought in another midfield player in that 48-hour period. We focused on that area a lot on Wednesday evening and all day Thursday.

“There’s a lot of reasons why some things haven’t been done at the top end of the pitch and I’ll refrain from some of the things I want to say.

“I think we need to strengthen quickly, don’t think we’re naïve.

“We had three young players on the bench. We know where we need to improve.”

Before the game, Robinson spoke about the Brannagan saga for the first time since the midfielder signed a new three-year deal late on Thursday night.

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“We thought it was done,” he said.

“We were speaking to two players to bring in.

“I was on a Zoom and I got a phone call. I saw Cameron Brannagan’s name come up and I was expecting a ‘thanks for everything you’ve done for me gaffer’. But that wasn’t the case.

“The love and security we give our players, and the fans with our players, creates a connection that’s unrivalled.

“A few people in this dressing room have had opportunities to move on in the last few months, but they’ve chosen the yellow shirt.

“People talk about money, but it wasn’t the money he would have got if he’d left.

“I saw a tweet from his agent, saying ‘Cam signed a new deal. Happiness is everything’. We forget about that sometimes.”