KARL Robinson insists Oxford United have the quality to catch the play-off pack – but admitted they have to click into gear rapidly.

The gap to Sky Bet League One’s top six widened to eight points after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland.

While it was arguably the U’s best league performance in their poor run of one win in eight games, they could not turn their best moments into goals.

Instead, Sunderland ground out another clean sheet after Jordan Willis’s second-minute header to strengthen their promotion challenge.

It leaves United 11th in the table and facing a tough task to get back into the race, heaping pressure on the need to beat AFC Wimbledon tomorrow night, but Robinson is remaining upbeat.

He said: “This team is good enough to go on a run which claws that back very quickly.

“We’re miles ahead of where we were this time last year.

“If we can have that run of games that we had towards the back end of the season, that will be enough.

“We have to make sure we find that form very quickly.”

United’s squad has been put under strain by injuries and a suspension to Alex Gorrin in the wake of a January transfer window where they lost Chris Cadden, Shandon Baptiste and Tariqe Fosu.

Others are still finding their way back to fitness, although Cameron Brannagan and James Henry showed encouraging signs they were getting close to their best against Sunderland.

Robinson said: “A lot are missing and a lot aren’t here.

“So when you look at a lot of the good things we’ve had going on we were a few short.

“I’m so proud of my players.

“We’ll pick the bones out of it but I don’t think we’ll find much relatively wrong in what we did.”

He added: “Don’t forget Ben Woodburn’s still not back and obviously Tariqe, Shandon and Cadds (have gone).

“This is a shadow of the team that was cruising to games.

“Now we’re getting people back fit, Cameron and Jamo are getting there.

“It’s just one of those moments and I’m not going to get too down with my players.

“I’m getting frustrated with the run of results, obviously, but I’m not angry with my players.”