KARL Robinson has suggested Gavin Whyte could be the man to boost his striking options.

The 25-year-old is back with Oxford United after playing up front in Northern Ireland’s 0-0 draw with European champions Italy on Monday.

Whyte (below) has mainly been used as a winger during his career, but was one of two strikers in a 5-3-2 system at Windsor Park.

Robinson revealed the Cardiff City loanee would have played up front at some stage of Tuesday’s Emirates FA Cup defeat to Bristol Rovers, if available.

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United’s head coach has already suggested it may be difficult to sign a striker that makes the difference in January and confirmed he had a positional switch for Whyte in mind.

“Sometimes what’s out there might not be as good as what’s already here, with a slight manoeuvring of their position,” Robinson said.

“It was against the European champions, it’s not like he was playing against San Marino.

“It was a real challenge for him and it was nice for me to see him as a striker.

“I have this little inkling with Gavin up there, we’ve only tried it once or twice and he’s been very prominent.”

Whyte played in a central role behind the strikers in United's defeats to Bolton Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers in August.

But his only U’s hat-trick came when he finished the game through the middle, at Shrewsbury Town in April 2019.

United’s strikers are currently top-scorer Matty Taylor, Dan Agyei and Sam Winnall, who has not played since September 4.