KARL Robinson admits it will be difficult for Oxford United to secure a marquee pre-season friendly.

The U’s head coach spoke in March about setting up a fixture against a foreign ‘giant’ this summer as a way to recoup some of the revenue lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

United will make a late decision on their pre-season tour to Spain, scheduled for early July, when they are due to face the Gibraltar national team and Sky Bet League One rivals Plymouth Argyle.

Ongoing restrictions on international travel mean the trip is still in doubt, though, and Robinson explained the uncertainty is affecting their summer plans in other ways.

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He said: “It’s hard to get the names that we wanted with the current Covid situation and travelling.

“It’s almost impossible to do that this summer, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

“We want to be creative with the pre-season, we want to be better than ever before.

“I don’t think there’ll be many big ones, it’ll be quite a calm one before the storm of another season.”

Spain is on the government’s ‘amber list’, meaning visiting is not recommended unless in the case of ‘extreme circumstances’.

For those countries, travellers must take one coronavirus test before they go and quarantine for ten days after they return.

It is hoped Spain will be added to the ‘green’ list, which removes the need to quarantine, when recommendations are reviewed this week.

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United have until June 21 to confirm the tour, but if the country is not moved down a level they will change to an alternative pre-season schedule.

The U’s were due to travel to the Marbella Football Centre last summer, but changing coronavirus conditions scuppered that plan.

Pre-booked venues in Portugal and Iceland were also scrapped, while they had to pull out of visiting a facility in Scotland.

In the end, United went to Wales for a five-day training camp in August.

The U’s last travelled to Spain for pre-season in 2016.

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United have not revealed their full schedule of fixtures, but it appears attracting a top-tier team may be unlikely.

Robinson had hoped to face a big name before the League One campaign begins on August 7.

He previously said: “I think you’ll see a lot more foreign teams coming to England this summer.

“We hope to get some really aggressive pre-season friendlies and that will make some dent in the losses.

“We hope there can be some teams from abroad that are seen as giants of football.”