Dons to up the ante in promotion hunt

Karl Robinson has promised a more aggressive MK Dons
Karl Robinson has promised a more aggressive MK Dons

Karl Robinson has promised a more aggressive MK Dons side in the next few weeks as their League 1 campaign hits the thick of the action.

Now 14 games in, Dons are in the enviable position of sixth place, four points off the automatic promotion spots, and vitally, with three games in hand over most of the teams above them.

Dons have been in similar positions before. Robinson’s side found themselves on top of the pile in the early stages of the 2011/12 season before their campaign hit the buffers in dramatic fashion during September and October.

This season, Dons have won 12 of their 20 games in all competitions, have lost five times (two of which have come in cup competition), picked up three draws and netting 45 times.

But after a week off, Dons face five games in 14 days from Saturday, and a stern test in their League 1 resolve.

Tough games against Rochdale, Sheffield United and Preston await them - all of which have their eyes on a top six finish too.

But Robinson promises his side won’t be any push overs in the next few weeks.

He said: “We want to be aggressive in the next step and we’re going to be a different MK Dons side.

“We will be a side that fights to the very last kick of the game, but all the pretty football that we get labelled with will still be there. But there will be an edge to us.

“We’re not going to make any apologies for upsetting anyone. If people want to come into our home and compete with us, they’ll have to compete as well.

“We’re not going to waste opportunities. We’re fully focussed.

“League 1 is extremely competitive. “There are some really good teams in the top echelon where we are.

“There are a couple of surprises in Oldham and Notts County, but Lee Johnson and Shaun Derry have done really well. We feel we’re as competitive as any.

“Every league is competitive, but this year, this league is more even. Other than Bristol City, Preston and Sheffield United, we’re all punching around the same weight.

“This year, there’s been a different feel around here. We know what we want.”

For the first time in years, Robinson walked into a treatment room void of anyone but his physio staff this week.

George Baldock, Lee Hodson and Danny Green are back in full training, and after a week off, the rest of the squad are fresh and ready to go again on Saturday against Port Vale.

Now, it’s time to go again.

“We feel we can compete this time,” said the manager. “But there are some big teams not even in the top 10. The level of management is really high, and English management too which I’m passionate about.

“But I feel we can compete. It has been a unique season.

“This is the best group I’ve had. They all mean something and they’ll all play their part at some stage.”

But already, most have played their part in a very fascinating opening to the season.

Eleven players have already hit the back of the net, and the back five have kept seven clean sheets in all competitions, something Robinson would have snapped up at the beginning of the season.

“We’ve made a wonderful start. We’ll forget the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy - that’s the only blot on the copy book.

“If I was offered this at the beginning, I’d have taken it. But we’ve been in this position before and we’ve got better, but we’ve also got worse.

“You can get carried away with some results, positions and performances. We have to be very grounded. We’re very happy with what we’re doing.”