KARL Robinson is hoping a trip to Ibrox to take on Rangers in a pre-season friendly this afternoon will give his Oxford United players added motivation to clinch promotion to the Championship in the season ahead.

Robinson has revealed that he was delighted to get the chance to play at the famous Govan ground because he feels that it will inspire his charges ahead of their forthcoming League One campaign.

The former Milton Keynes Dons and Charlton Athletic manager believes Rangers are similar to his boyhood heroes Liverpool.

And is hoping his men get a taste for playing against the size of clubs they will face if they go up to the second tier.

“The first game of pre-season for us is against Rangers at Ibrox and the first game of the season is against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light,” he said.

“It will replicate that for us and we know that both of those grounds can become cauldrons.

“It was an opportunity we jumped at because of the history at Rangers and the fact that so many great moments have happened at that ground.

“I actually had a coffee with Alex Rae the other day and we were speaking about the mottos and the history of Rangers and their fans - it’s a way of life for them and they can’t live without football.

“I was very lucky growing up to go to Anfield many, many times and I think Ibrox is very similar – it’s an old stadium which is synonymous with the club and not one that the fans would ever want to leave.

“Nowadays you go to some fantastic stadia with architecture and modern designs, but there is a magic about playing at places like Ibrox. We can’t wait to play there.

“I want our players to look around and see that this type of thing becomes the norm if we are in the Championship. It’s all about where you want to perform.

“Some of the players we have here do have the potential to play in the Championship and Premier League, but it will be a tremendous test for us.”

He added: “Rangers have got a manager who has done really well and has a big year ahead with a club that is building and will be looking to stop Celtic this season. We are training at Celtic on Saturday too so we get to see both clubs in some way this weekend.

“Our fans like to come and support us abroad in pre-season, but I just felt we had to take the opportunity when this game became available. Rangers are a week ahead of us in pre-season and I know played Mansfield in Portugal last weekend so they are probably a game or two ahead of us as well.

“They are four or five days away from playing in Europe so it’s going to be difficult for us but it’s a challenge we are looking forward to.”

Oxford don’t play their opening competitive fixture until next month, but Robinson has revealed that he is hoping to see an intensity in his players’ performance against Rangers at Ibrox.

“It’s only a friendly and it’s not like we want the players to play on the edge,” he said. “That’s not right for Rangers or for us. You play on the edge much closer to the season and I want the desire to be there then because that’s when players perform at their best.

“But this game is a chance to kick start our season. No disrespect to anybody or any of the games we have played abroad over the years, but this game is one where you know you are truly back and the season is nearly here.

“We have five games this week, a whole spectrum of matches after two fantastic weeks of training. The players have worked so hard and will be physically ready and now you want to see how they function on the pitch. That’s why this game is so important.”