Dons and Posh have unfinished business

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London Road hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Karl Robinson, but he’s out to settle some unfinished business this Saturday.

The last time Dons and Peterborough met was in the play-offs in 2011, and it was under a contentious cloud.

Stephen Gleeson’s red card in the first leg may have been overturned, but Grant McCann’s penalty late in the day pulled back a vital goal for Peterborough, giving them a huge boost ahead of the second leg.

And the emotion is still a raw one for Robinson, who hasn’t forgotten how close Dons really were to the play-off final.

“The referee (Johnathan Moss) evened it up with 10 minutes to go which was an embarrassment,” said Robinson, remembering back to the game. “And now he’s in the Premier League.

“We went into that London Road game bitter, even though we’d won. We went there angry, and I don’t think we even turned up that day.

“I’m still bitter about it. I felt we were cheated out of the tie.”

Peterborough went on to win the play-off final against Huddersfield - the team who would beat Dons in the play-off semi finals 12 months later.

But after two years in the Championship, Peterborough are back in League 1, rekindling the rivalry between the two clubs.

And both have made good starts to this campaign. Dons remain unbeaten in their opening seven league games, climbing to sixth in the table.

Posh meanwhile spent big in the summer on striker Britt Assombalonga from Watford, who has netted seven times in nine appearances.

His form has been key in seeing them cruise into second place in League 1.

Although Robinson’s two previous trips to London Road as a manager have seen him come away fruitless, the manager is looking forward to heading back to Peterborough.

Robinson said: “I can’t wait. It’s the one we all look for. It was the first fixture I was looking for.

“We are coming into it of the back of a lot of difficult games.

“It’s not a normal game, but we have to approach it like one. I’ve missed it in the last few years.

“I grew up always looking for when the games against Everton were.

“I love derbies. But I think this is a derby borne out of not really liking each other.”

The relationship between the two sets of supporters errs on the side of fractious, which will make the tight London Road ground a hotbed of hostility on Saturday.

But Robinson insists behind the scenes, the club are on good terms.

He said: “There’s a lot of respect between the two clubs internally.

“We were at the same pre-season base camp, and I watched them play twice.

“I’ve chatted with Darren Ferguson, Barry Fry and I’ve got a lot of respect for Darragh MacAnthony.

“Those three have been remarkable for that club. What they’ve done, the money they’ve spent, we’ve not been able to do.

“They’ve got a million pound striker, that’s something I’ve never been able to boast.”

But while there may be niceties shared at the full time whistle, regardless of the result on Saturday, Robinson knows he goes there with unfinished business to sort out.

“There’s always unfinished business. It’s a local game that fans love,” he said.

“Internally, neither side will be treating it differently, but after the game, it’s sometimes worth a little bit more than just three points.”