SHANDON Baptiste is due to have a scan this morning on a knee injury which has left Oxford United reeling at the latest serious fitness setback.

The midfielder spent 11 weeks out following shoulder surgery and his return was seen as a major boost to a squad light on strength in depth.

But just six minutes after coming on in the 1-0 Emirates FA Cup defeat at Brentford, the 20-year-old was in agony after a freak fall.

While nothing conclusive will be known until the scan, United suspect a cruciate ligament injury which will almost certainly rule him out for the season – and possibly a chunk of the next one.

With Rob Hall and Jon Obika having their campaigns wiped out by similar problems, boss Karl Robinson despaired.

He said: “I’ve never had anything like this. People can have a go at me, but sometimes things are taken completely out of your control.

“People need to realise how hard this is right now, because my players have given me everything.

“I’m sick. I don’t care about results sometimes, it’s the welfare of human beings I care more for, especially when these kids are trying to make a career in the game.

“This is their life, this is all they know and when they have it taken away from you for something that’s no fault of your own when you’ve worked so hard I don’t really know what to say. I’m on the floor.

“The players are devastated. You can say it’s football, but it doesn’t make it sit any better.”

Robinson went on to the pitch when Baptiste was having treatment and consoled players from both sides.

It was an unusual sight, but the U’s boss was only focused on supporting Baptiste.

He said: “My heart is in the right place, I care for all the players.

“I just wanted to make sure he knew we were all there for him and be strong as he was coming off, because I know he was in a terrible state. The kid doesn’t deserve it.”

Baptiste took to social media to show his appreciation for the thoughts from U’s fans, tweeting: “Thanks for all the kind messages I really appreciate all the support.”

Robinson’s worries were not helped by an issue for Jamie Mackie, who suffered a back injury in the warm-up.

He was able to get through an hour, but it with no other senior strikers at the club it only increased the need for urgent reinforcements.

The United boss was hopeful on Saturday of getting a loan deal across the line in time for tomorrow’s Checkatrade Trophy tie at Cheltenham Town.

  • UNITED'S trip to Accrington Stanley on Saturday, January 26 is postponed after their rivals reached the fourth round of the FA Cup.