OXFORD United’s strikers have got to step up to ensure the side stay up this season, Karl Robinson has urged.

The side have hit a barren run in front of goal, finding the net just six times in the last nine games.

It has hamstrung the U’s attempts to break clear of the Sky Bet League One relegation zone, which remains too close for comfort at just five points with five games left.

Their shortcomings were vividly demonstrated on Tuesday night, when Robinson’s side performed well enough to win comfortably, only for old boy Conor McAleny to net the only goal of the game in stoppage-time.

It was a heartbreaking climax, but the brutal truth was United – despite using Wes Thomas, Jon Obika, Agon Mehmeti and Gino van Kessel on the night – did not have anyone in their side who looked capable of producing such a quality finish.

Robinson, the U’s head coach, said: “We do finishing every day and I can only control what I can control.

“That’s all I’ll do from now until the end of the season, but it comes to the stage when you have to score.

“I thought all the strikers outside the box were very good.

“But unfortunately they’re judged by how many they score – 19 (league) goals between the four of them all season. It’s not enough.”

The frustration stems from a feeling United have played well enough in Robinson’s short time at the club to have got themselves out of trouble.

He said: “We should be eight points clear of the relegation zone.

“We’ve played some unbelievable football and we should be very comfortable.”

Despite the goalscoring issues Robinson is adamant United will stay up if they can replicate their performance level from midweek.

But the priority now is on rousing the squad ahead of Southend United’s visit this weekend.

“I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again,” he said.

“I’ll get my head around it somehow and we’ll go again. That’s football, but if we keep playing like that we’ll be fine.”