KARL Robinson wants to resurrect Oxford United’s interest in Nicky Maynard if Jamie Mackie is out for an extended period.

A specialist is seeing Mackie this week to look at a hip problem, which became aggravated in training on Friday.

If it is bad news, United would be left with only Sam Smith and Jon Obika to lead the line in a side which whose struggles to convert chances in Sky Bet League One were clear to see in Saturday’s goalless draw at Wycombe Wanderers.

Robinson was told he needed to work with the existing squad last week by chairman Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth, ruling out additions before the January window.

It meant Maynard, a free agent who was training with the U’s, moved on without a contract offer.

But when asked if a prolonged absence for Mackie would change the situation, the head coach said: “Yes, hopefully. Ideally, Nicky Maynard is there.

“We have to do something because I can’t keep getting this (performance) and not taking chances.

“Nicky Maynard has done it at the highest level. He’s free, he’s available, he’s not fit yet but for a cameo for ten or 15 minutes he would give us something.”

He added: “I know where the problems lie.

“We’ve said this on a number of occasions, but I can’t do something out of nowhere. We do need to find some firepower.”

In the meantime it leaves the centre forward burden on Smith, the 20-year-old on loan from Reading, and Obika, whose career-best goals return for a season is 12.

Both have scored once each so far this season, but Robinson has faith the pair can deliver with the right mindset.

He said: “Belief in life is massive and with it you can achieve things that sometimes your talent shouldn’t.

“I’ve had lesser players with belief who have achieved tremendous things.”

He added: “We know this is Sam Smith’s first loan and he’s finding it difficult, but he will come of age.

“Even that (at Wycombe) when he came on was a different Sam Smith than we’ve seen.

“We know what Jon Obika is. Let’s not think you can get a magic wand out and he’s going to score 35 goals. That’s not Jon’s make-up, history proves that.”

Elsewhere, United have received good news from the treatment room.

Samir Carruthers has been out with a knee problem since the opening day of the season, but is progressing well.

Robinson said: “Samir’s only two and a half or three weeks away.

“He should be back training with the first team next Monday.”