KARL Robinson has urged Joel Cooper to kick on from a successful period away from Oxford United when he returns this summer.

The winger played just seven U’s games last season, before personal issues forced him to move back to Northern Ireland last November.

His loan return to former side Linfield was announced one month later and the 25-year-old helped the Irish Premiership outfit win a league and cup double.

Saturday’s 2-0 triumph at Cliftonville signalled the end of Cooper’s campaign and Robinson expects him to continue his momentum when he joins back up with United in pre-season.

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The U’s head coach said: “He’s done alright, he’s happy.

“He’ll be back at Oxford next year and then he’s got to stake his claim for a place.

“That’s his responsibility to try to do that.”

Cooper joined United last July on a three-year deal, having won the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Player of the Year award for his performances at Linfield the previous season.

He gained his first international call-up in August, but personal issues back home meant he found it difficult to settle in England.

Cooper’s last U’s appearance came in the Papa John’s Trophy win at Walsall on November 10, after which he returned to Northern Ireland.

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It was hoped that staying there until the summer would allow him to sort out his off-pitch issues while playing regular football.

Cooper racked up 25 appearances for Linfield, scoring four times, with one goal coming in the Irish Cup Final victory over Larne.

The forward admitted it was difficult to make his mark in his first campaign, but is hoping to make up for lost time next season.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “I’m really looking forward to going back to Oxford.

“I didn’t really give myself the best chance in the first year.

“I’m ready now to go and get the head down and give it a big push and see if I can be successful.

“Hopefully I can do that.”