KARL Robinson confirmed Oxford United are in discussions to sign striker Sam Smith from Reading – but admitted they face a battle to get the deal done.

The 20-year-old is believed to be available for a season-long loan, something which has been made more likely by the Royals’ capture of Marc McNulty on Friday.

United held a recruitment meeting at their training camp in Ireland yesterday and are in need of extra firepower in attacking areas.

Boss Robinson revealed they were in talks, but there was plenty of other interest in Smith, who scored twice in 13 appearances for the Sky Bet Championship club last season.

He said: “If we can get him in amongst a few (interested) Championship and League One teams it would be a real coup.

“His agent, the player and Reading have been very good.

“We’re in discussions with them but there’s a lot of competition.

“We like him and he’s on our list, but getting a deal done is always difficult when he’s that good.”

Robinson still believes he is half a dozen players short of what he wants for the U’s squad to go into the start of the League One season, which is now less than four weeks away.

He made the most of United owner Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth’s flying visit to Ireland, which ended this morning.

A two-and-a-half hour meeting yesterday left Robinson optimistic and he was even making contact with agents and transfer targets during the side’s 1-0 friendly win against Portmarnock AFC last night.

He said: “We had a meeting for two and a half hours which was more important than the game. It’s put me in a better mood.

“Tiger came all the way from Thailand just for the day, so we didn’t have him for long.

“We’re being told we can go and maybe have some impetus in some of the signings we’re trying to make.

“We’ve just got to make sure now we can get them over the line.

“I’ve spoken to four players since the end of the meeting.

“I think the fans saw me on my phone before the game and I was texting during it.

“I don’t make any apologies for maybe my mind not being 100 per cent on the game.”