OXFORD United’s trio of wingers showed enough for boss Karl Robinson to use the same approach on Saturday if a striker deal cannot be finalised in time.

With Jamie Mackie sidelined until next week with a back problem, the U’s have no fit senior centre forward.

Urgent enquiries are being made with a host of targets, but there are no guarantees that the squad will be reinforced before the visit to Fleetwood Town in Sky Bet League One this weekend.

As a back-up plan, Gavin Whyte was fielded as a striker in Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy tie at Cheltenham Town.

He formed a front three with Marcus Browne and Jordan Graham, who had the freedom to rotate.

Robinson acknowledged it was not an ideal situation, but felt the back-up plan had merit in the short-term.

He said: “It was exciting. It allows us to play in a different way.

“But the problem with square pegs in round holes is there’s going to be an unpredictability sometimes.

“There will be more mistakes and technically out of possession there will be big gaps.

“We looked open when we lost the ball because the lads didn’t know where to go. Hopefully we can bridge that with coaching.

“We put Gavin up front against Newport (in August) because we had nobody else and that triggered something in all our minds. He showed again he can do that.”

New faces would be preferable for Robinson, who was asked on Tuesday about a striker enjoying a prolific season on his doorstep.

Kabongo Tshimanga has netted 23 times for Oxford City, whose manager Mark Jones last week made it clear they would fight hard to keep their key players.

Robinson knows the striker well, having handed him a senior debut at Milton Keynes Dons.

He said: “I wanted to sign him in the summer and he came to a trial day.

“I know him inside out and he’s a robust goalscorer. Everything is power and aggression, he’s a pest.

“Hopefully our people will have seen him play and they can give me a conclusive report.”

United did receive good news this week on Mackie, who could return to action next week after tests revealed his problem was not as serious as initially feared.

Ricky Holmes also had a scan on his back this week.

The results will indicate how long he will be sidelined, which will determine whether the U’s cut short his loan from Sheffield United.