Charlie Mac will be back says Robbo

MK Dons (white) v Preston North End (black)
MK Dons (white) v Preston North End (black)

KARL Robinson isn’t concerned with Charlie MacDonald’s recent goal drought, insisting the striker will bounce back to form soon.

MacDonald hasn’t hit the net since December 31 when he scored against former club Brentford – a spell now spanning 10 games ahead of a tough trip to Bournemouth coming up on Saturday.

But Robinson isn’t concerned with MacDonald’s bad luck in front of goal and thinks his contribution to the side is greater than just scoring.

“Charlie MacDonald has hit the post and hit the bar, a lot of our play goes through him,” said Robinson. “He plays the link-up role so well. He’s not one of those forwards who, when he doesn’t score, doesn’t do anything.

“He still has a great touch, and is getting on the end of the chances. With all due respect to him, there are bigger and better forwards who have gone on longer baron runs than him.

“I thought his all-round game was excellent on Tuesday (against Bury). He knows I brought him here and I rate him immensely.

“He missed a chance on Tuesday and just looked over to me and laughed. It’s like he was thinking ‘what more can I do?!’

“What summed it up though was his bullet of a header. It was brilliant technique but it went just wide of the post. He rounded the keeper and it came back off the post, he’s just missing rebounds. He needs one to bounce in off him.

“But what he brings behind the scenes is so important too. His bravery is phenomenal. He’s everything I want from an MK Dons player.

“He has heart, hunger and desire, all the ingredients that it takes to play for this club.”

But while his goals have dried up of late, Dean Bowditch has been in a rich vein of form, scoring four in his last three games and overtaking MacDonald as the club’s top scorer this season. And Robinson hit back at those saying Bowditch is playing out of position.

He said: “People keep telling me Dean Bowditch is playing out of position, but he’s only a few goals off his tally from last year when he played up front. He’s the leading scorer here and he’s leading the assists too, supposedly playing out of position.”

With Daniel Powell also hitting a purple patch, Dons’ front line is looking strong as they enter a busy March period.

Alan Smith is nearing full fitness and Paul Slane is due to start working with the squad next week, but Robinson is keen to pick up another option on the front line to keep the attack fresh.

“I said nearly two months ago that my focus was the front of the pitch,” he added. “I had the strength and leadership qualities in my side, I wanted people at the front who were fresh.

“I went out to get Paul Slane and Alan Smith, but I want another winger or forward to give me more headaches.

“I have total faith in the players already here, but I just want to keep them on their toes.”

And Dons will have to be on top form on Saturday as they face a difficult trip to Dean Court to face Bournemouth.

The Cherries spent big in January and are mounting a serious push to get into the League 1 play-offs, with new striker Matt Tubbs – an £800,000 signing from Crawley Town – already starting to return that fee.

Lee Bradbury’s men haven’t won in their last three though, while Robinson is struggling with knocks throughout his side.

He said: “We have quite a large amount of injuries. That pitch has really taken it out of the players. Darren Potter’s not training today (Thursday), James Tavernier, Alan Smith and Dean Lewington aren’t training either.

“We’re in the wars at the moment, but it’s not about who is fit at the moment, but who is fit in 48 hours time. I’m sure some will come through it and make themselves available for the game before we travel down to Bournemouth.

“The money they’ve spent is embarrassing really. They’ve got some good footballers and a good manager and it’s a lovely part of the world for players to go and live. They’ve got tremendous strength in depth too.

“But if you put anyone in front of my group of players and ask whether they’re going to win, they’ll say we can beat them.”