ROB Hall has laid down a marker for next season after returning to training in terrific shape, says Oxford United boss Karl Robinson.

The winger cannot feature in the Sky Bet League One play-offs, having spent the second half of the season on loan at Forest Green Rovers.

Hall, who missed most of last season recovering from knee surgery, only started three league games for the U’s before dropping a division in January.

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Robinson was keen to keep him involved in training now the squad are back, even though it meant including the 26-year-old in the expensive coronavirus testing programme.

The head coach is glad he did though, with Hall – who has a contract for next season – standing out.

Robinson said: “I have never seen him this fit since his days at MK (in 2016).

“He must have lost eight kilograms. He’s fit and it’s a pleasure to watch.

“In lockdown he’s had so much time to do things right and he will be a big loss to us.

“He was never quick, but he was incredibly sharp with an amazing change of direction.

“He’s embarrassed a few in training and I’m absolutely ecstatic at where he is.

Even though we didn’t have to pay for the testing, we thought it was the right thing to do to keep him with us.

“We are looking to next season as well.”