Karl Robinson on how Storm Dennis will affect Sunderland clash, and his stretched Oxford squad

Karl Robinson has a number of absentees for Oxford's clash with Sunderland on Saturday, while Storm Dennis is expected to affect the game

Team profile: Oxford United

Karl Robinson admits Storm Dennis will have a huge affect on Saturday's clash with Sunderland, and that could be an issue for the Oxford boss as he faces somewhat of an injury crisis.

Having lost Chris Cadden, Shandon Baptiste and Tariqe Fosu during last month's transfer window, Robinson already felt his Oxford squad was stretched, but going in against Sunderland he will also be without Liam Kelly, Jamie Hanson and Marcus Browne who are injured, while former Sunderland academy player Alex Gorrin is suspended for the game.

And Robinson revealed he spent an hour on Thursday morning trying to figure just how he was going to manage putting a starting XI together for the game at the Kassam Stadium.

He told the Oxford Mail: "When you think it’s all those players out, plus the three that have gone in the window.

"I remember when all this kicked off I said it won’t bite if we keep everybody fit, but when we start getting injuries then what we’ve lost in January will start to bite a little bit.

“But we didn’t expect all this to go on. It’s just one of those moments you have in a season.”

If that wasn't a headache enough for Robinson, the game is expected to be heavily affected by Storm Dennis which will hit the UK this weekend.

Fans are being warned of potential travel disruption ahead of the game, but with winds expected to get up to 50mph, Robinson expects the game to be stop-start, which he says won't suit players who aren't match-fit.

"The weather may mean it’s a stop-start game, which means you can play players who haven’t played for a while," The U's boss said.

"If it’s an all-out game where the ball is in play for 70 minutes rather than 55 it becomes a different type of game for different people. I know what I want to do.

“I read an article this morning about Man City playing nine games in 31 days and how no-one has ever seen that, yet we’re playing that in 29.

“It just shows you if it’s difficult for the best players in the world it’s equally difficult for squads like ourselves who are stretched.

“We’re looking forward to it, but the siege mentality has always been here. It’s just going to be called upon even more in the next few games.”