Dons must strike for a leading man

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson. Photo by Simon Davies

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson. Photo by Simon Davies

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No more meetings, no more wish lists, no more strategy: MK Dons stand on the morn of the biggest transfer deadline day in their history.

Goals have been in desperately short supply this season. A far cry from the 101 league goals they scored with relative ease last season, Dons have been without a leading man far too often in the Championship.

But there wasn’t a positive noise emanating from stadium:mk last night: “There aren’t any targets now, but we’re focussed on that now, 100 per cent,” said Karl Robinson after the 5-1 defeat to Chelsea.

In truth, it has been one of Robinson’s most glaring shortcomings during his time at stadium:mk. Taking ownership of a striker has simply never come to fruition, certainly not one he can hang his hat on.

Charlie MacDonald, Jabo Ibehre and Izale McLeod threatened but disappointed and Ryan Lowe even came close but locked horns too often with his manager to have an effective relationship. Sam Baldock, of course, was sold before he could enjoy the fruits of his talents.

Deft loan signings of Patrick Bamford, Benik Afobe and Will Grigg were strokes of genius, but they came with warning labels. And while the trio didn’t succumb to the pitfalls, the likes of Sanmi Odelusi, James Loveridge and most recently Sam Gallagher very much did.

Taking a bold punt on the young and untested has proven to be hit and miss, and to miss is something Dons fans will no longer accept.

Shifting some of the unwanted off the wage bill hasn’t opened up as many doors as Robinson would have liked this month. Sent down too many blind alleyways this month, it leaves the manager with a restless day, bordering on the desperate to recruit the leading man he has been searching for since June.

The window comes to a close at 11pm tonight, so it leaves Dons with a full day to hunt for the missing piece. But with the deadline looming, they cannot afford - literally - to make a mess of this: their Championship fate could depend on it.