Barker preparing Dons as normal until told otherwise

Richie Barker
Richie Barker

With Robbie Neilson yet to be confirmed as the new MK Dons manager, caretaker boss Richie Barker is preparing the side for the visit to Charlton Athletic at the weekend.

Barker has been in caretaker charge since the departure of Karl Robinson in October and admitted last week he felt the Coventry game would be his last.

But as negotiations with Hearts boss Neilson rumble on today, Barker is taking training ahead of the FA Cup clash, preparing the side for their trip to The Valley.

"I think until someone signs on the dotted line that'll be the case, and even if that happens, a lot of things need to be worked out," said Barker. "But when things happen in football, they can happen really fast.

"If it turns out someone happens to be in place before the weekend and they want to do it, it becomes their gig and I'm fine with that. If not, I've got to prepare the best I can so this side can take on Charlton."

Despite leading the first team for 38 days, Barker admitted he has tried to remain well away from the ins and outs of the manager search and knows only what he has seen and read with regards to progress in the Neilson deal.

He said: "I know the negotiations have taken place. He had a very important game against Rangers last night to go second, which wasn't ideal for anyone in terms of timing.

"But we're now down to Thursday. I start preparation for a Saturday game on a Wednesday though, so it's a big 48 hours for the club.

"I can't lie and say people aren't constantly asking what the situation is. At this level, whether you're a player or a member of staff, this is your livelihood. It's not like people don't really care who comes in and picks the team. At League 1 level, it affects lives.

"I've been asked plenty of times in the last few weeks, but I've purposefully kept my knowledge to a minimum so what I don't know I can't pass on!"