BEING the manager that leads MK Dons to victory over AFC Wimbledon in the first ever meeting between the two clubs is something that leaves Karl Robinson almost delirious with excitement.
The Dons boss doesn’t mean to offend, but he is still a football fan at heart and realises the significance of being in his position, at this moment in time.
He admits that the build-up to the FA Cup second round tie against AFC Wimbledon is unlike anything he has or is ever likely to experience in his career, so he’s determined to enjoy it.
“There’s no point in me sitting here saying it’s this, it’s that – of course it’s different,” said Robinson. “It’s the most unique game in English football.
“As League 1 players and management we don’t get this very often. We don’t get the uniqueness of the media speculation. So obviously there is a difference.
“Has training been different? No. Has our preparation been different? No. So we’ve not changed that side of it. But what has obviously changed is that an awful lot more work has gone into pleasing the media.”
Dons go into the game on the second day of December having enjoyed the sort of month that league champions are made of. And taking on a side struggling in the division below makes Robinson’s men huge favourites to progress.
However, as a massive football fan, the Dons boss knows the power of the FA Cup, and is taking nothing for granted – even if AFC Wimbledon do currently occupy 22nd place in League 2. But he is also extremely confident that his side will win the game, and says losing is not an option.
“This is definitely going to be a very unique game,” he said. “For people who are loving it or hating it, or don’t care about it – it’s here. So you’ve got to choose what camp you’re in, and I’m in the one that’s excited about it.
“Losing is not something that crosses my mind. I’ll worry about that, and the consequences of that, if it does ever happen. But there’s not a thought process in my mind that says we’re not going to win on Sunday.
“But I’m also conscious of the fact that the AFC manager will be sat there thinking about coming to the game and not worrying about losing. He just sees his team coming here and winning.
“The biggest element of them all is the secret of the FA Cup. That’s the bit you can’t control. We’ve been involved in games we think we should have won – Cambridge City away from home the best example.
“So they’re going to bring a different sort of form to the table. Results in their league have not been great and ours have.
“It’s weird because I’m not sure whether or not they’ve won since the draw came out, and I don’t think we’ve lost since it came out. So the FA Cup will do its best to try and mix that up, and make it more even.
“I’m just so excited about it. I understand some people aren’t. But I’m doing my job. The FA Cup has drawn us together and I want to win the game.”
Considering the importance of the FA Cup tie, Robinson said it has the potential to provide him with one of the proudest moments of his career.
The performance of his players and their reaction to losing at Huddersfield in the League 1 play-offs last season is currently the moment he says makes him most proud. But leading out MK Dons against AFC Wimbledon is likely to come pretty close.
Robinson said: “We take fantastic pride in what we do. What has made us very proud is the way that our fans have conducted themselves away at Peterborough and Huddersfield.
“We felt we conducted ourselves in a wonderful way in those play-off games. And I’ll never be as proud as I was on that coach coming back from Huddersfield. Before the season even started the players had motivated me to kick on again.
“That’s my proudest moment to date. We’ve had some wonderful times in the last few years, but the significance and uniqueness of this game will have sentimental value in my life forever and a day. Hopefully my proudest days are yet to come as manager of this football club.”