Lots still to do before Dons can kick off

Rob Hall in action against Getafe. Pic: Jane Russell.
Rob Hall in action against Getafe. Pic: Jane Russell.
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Football is a results-based industry... unless you count pre-season friendlies, in which case they count for nothing.

It’s true: Dons haven’t won a pre-season game in four. But even with a little over a week before the new season kicks off away at Rotherham, there will be no sleep lost over the results column over the last two weeks or so, especially having found a rich vein of goal-scoring form in previous outings this summer.

Simon Church against Barnet. Pic: Lee Scriven.

Simon Church against Barnet. Pic: Lee Scriven.

Everything off the field is beginning to fall into place nicely. The signing of Cristian Benavente from Real Madrid no less raised a few eyebrows at the sort of players Karl Robinson can attract to the club now in the second tier.

Rob Hall was one of the stars of the show in the run-in last season which ultimately won Dons promotion to the Championship, and he has put pen to paper on a season-long loan deal from Bolton Wanderers - his third spell at the club.

And Southampton striker Sam Gallagher is the latest to sign up to Dons’ inaugural Championship jaunt. The teenager, who has played and scored in the Premier League for the Saints, also signs on a season-long loan as the manager continues to strengthen his thin front line.

Speaking of the manager, Robinson’s future is secured after he signed a new and improved contract with the club, boosted by number two Richie Barker being offered a similar improved offer to remain by his side.

Dean Bowditch against Barnet. Pic: Lee Scriven.

Dean Bowditch against Barnet. Pic: Lee Scriven.

A busy two weeks indeed, with news understandably over-shadowing defeats at Chesham, Barnet and Getafe, and a 1-1 draw with Mansfield.

And though there are only eight days to go before the curtain raiser, and three games to be played in that time, there’s still plenty to do off the field. Robinson’s target of six new players, as stated on the first day of pre-season training, is only half filled and the front line could use extra strengthening, though Simon Church looks to be a strong contender to lead the line at the New York Stadium.

Benavente is yet to kick a ball in an MK Dons shirt, so his potential is unknown as yet though with international caps under his belt for his native Peru, expect big things from the 21-year-old as he looks to step into the void left by Dele Alli.

As it stands, it is likely Dons will have enough to be competitive with Rotherham on opening day with the squad currently in place. But Robinson won’t simply want to have enough to get by in the Championship: he’ll want to turn over a few apple carts along the way. No manager keeps their head buried in the sand, they’ll always have their feelers out when it comes to players who could add to their talent pool and Robinson is no different. Expect plenty more rumours and gossip in the forthcoming week as the search intensifies to the extra X-factor to make Robinson’s squad all the more potent.

And with games against Brackley, Rochdale and Chelsea before the opener, there’s a lot of football still to be played too. Just don’t get carried away with the results.