KARL Robinson insists Oxford United’s reaction to a suspected breach of coronavirus protocols does not change whoever is involved.

Two U’s academy players are currently suspended following allegations they attended a New Year’s Eve party.

United are investigating the suspected breach before deciding what action to take and Robinson maintains this would be the case if it was one of his higher-profile stars.

Read also: Oxford United suspend two academy players

The U’s head coach said: “The ultimate question will be: would I have dealt with this the same way if it was a first-team player? Yes.

“First and foremost, if you’ve been around people illegally, it means that you have to isolate.

“If we didn’t make them do that they’d be breaking the law.”

The youngsters, one of whom plays for the Under 21s and the other for the Under 18s, are now in the middle of a 14-day isolation period, as dictated by government guidelines.

Neither had visited the training ground since December 20, but the alleged breach still led to long discussions among United staff after they found out on New Year’s Day.

When the story broke 72 hours later it was reported senior figures at the club wanted the players sacked, but this is thought to be wide of the mark.

Read also: Oxford United start getting twice-weekly Covid tests

It follows several incidents of Covid rule-breaking by Premier League players over the festive period and came days after Robinson spoke out about other EFL clubs’ perceived ‘sloppiness’ at keeping to the protocols.

But he was proud United were proactive in suspending the players before the incident was public knowledge.

“A lot of people told me we’re the first club that’s dealt with this situation and not brushed it under the carpet,” Robinson said.

“We were always on the front foot with it – we spent two or three hours on Friday discussing the right thing to do.

“We’ve got to a line where they’re fearful for their careers and remorseful for their actions.

“I think that’s important to understand.”

Since the news broke, United’s entire first-team squad has tested negative for the virus, with just one member of support staff recording a positive result.

The U’s have followed strict rules at the training ground and Robinson feels it is important the two youngsters realise the significance of the virus.

He said: “As much as my tolerance was pushed to the limit, we believe in giving people an opportunity.

“People are allowed to make mistakes, so long as there’s an acceptance it’s not acceptable.

“The players know it’s completely and utterly wrong – they’re rightly embarrassed.”

He added: “If we decide to bring them back in I would love for them to start doing some drop-offs for the vulnerable to see how important this virus is.

“I’m a big believer in education and that’s something we’ll certainly look to do.”