Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson wants an answer from long-serving left-back Josh Ruffels as soon as possible, with a potential move to Nottingham Forest on the agenda.
The 27-year-old was linked with a move to the City Ground by The Athletic earlier this month, with Chris Hughton keen to bolster his options in that area of the pitch with Yuri Ribeiro departing and Gaetan Bong now being 33 years old.
They claim that Forest have been watching Ruffels, who joined the U’s from Coventry City back in 2013, and he’s had a stand-out season at the Kassam Stadium after scoring six times and also notching up five assists.
Ruffels only converted to being a regular left-back in 2018 after spending much of his career as a youngster as a central midfielder, but he’s an important cog in Robinson’s system and every effort is being made to keep him for a promotion push in League One next season.
But time is ticking down until his contract expires next month, and with the Forest interest perhaps turning his head, Ruffels has been urged to come to a decision on Oxford’s offer that has currently been unanswered.
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That’s the one thing we have asked,” said Robinson regarding Ruffels making up his mind on Oxford’s offer, per the Banbury Cake.
“From our point of view, we know where we’re at.
“We know what’s going on and we’ll be speaking over the weekend.
“We requested a resolution and Josh deep down is an Oxford fan.
“We’ve had some good conversations, but we also respect the situation.”
Whether Forest’s apparent interest amounts to anything remains to be seen, but the chances of Oxford keeping Ruffels must be shrinking by the day.
It’s just over a month until contracts of players expire and it seems as though the 27-year-old wants to assess all the options available to him before committing to the U’s once again.
His performances for Oxford this past season deserve Championship interest and it would be a surprise if a number of second tier clubs aren’t taking a look – Robinson can probably be resigned to losing his star left-back and no doubt he will be already looking at alternatives.