League 1 is as competitive as it gets

Karl Robinson
Karl Robinson

League 1 could be the most competitive league in the country and shouldn’t be overlooked, according to Karl Robinson.

Bradford City humbled Chelsea in the FA Cup last Saturday in arguably the biggest shock of the round, while Sheffield United were narrowly beaten by Tottenham in the semi-finals of the Captial One Cup on Wednesday night.

And that’s not to mention MK Dons’ 4-0 win over Manchester United earlier this season too.

“This league is very strong,” said Robinson. “But I heard a quote the other day from someone saying League 1 is as easy as it has been for years.

“But Bradford beat Chelsea, Sheffield United out-play Tottenham and neither of them are in the play-offs. When you look at that, you have to realise this is a difficult league. It shows you this league is as hard as it gets. Chesterfield came up and kept on it, as did Rochdale and Fleetwood.

“When you see how low the tally is to get in the play-offs at the moment, it shows how spread out the points are.

“The top three have dominated, but the rest is so competitive. Scunthorpe will get into the play-offs if they win their games in hand. It’s as hard as it gets.”

And if any clearer example were needed, on Tuesday night Dons drew 1-1 with Scunthorpe, who climbed from 19th to 17th with their point, while Dons missed out on the opportunity to go top of the league.

But despite missing out on leapfrogging Bristol City and Swindon to reach the summit, Robinson says his side are already exceeding expectations, and have set themselves small targets to get excited about.

“We’re safe, we’ve got over the 50 point mark,” he joked. “Then we’ll celebrate surpassing last year’s score, then 74 points, then 80+ which is the magic number hopefully.

“We aren’t getting carried away. We just keep playing. Every win we get takes us closer to our goal. Our goal at the beginning of the season wasn’t to be where we are today.

“We thought we’d be in the mix, but we didn’t expect to be 15 points clear of the team in seventh.”

On Saturday, Dons will travel the Alexandra Stadium to take on Crewe, who sit 20th in the table. Historically, Robinson’s side haven’t preformed well there, with two forgettable performances in their last two visits.

He said: “We’ve been comfortably beaten there in the last two years. And our worst performances have been at Crewe. This is a place we don’t play well at for whatever reason.

“This team will have to go there and turn it around. They’re on the up and they’re getting stronger.

“If we go and win on Saturday, drawing at Scunthorpe will look like a great point.”