New look Dons will have a familiar feel

Dean Lewington, Kyle McFadzean and Joe Walsh
Dean Lewington, Kyle McFadzean and Joe Walsh

There might be a host of new names in the squad for next season, but MK Dons will have a familiar look to them by the time the new campaign kicks off in August.

The attacking third of the pitch looks set for a massive overhaul after a season which brought about just 39 goals in the Championship.

But manager Karl Robinson is likely to keep in place his tried-and-tested back six as they look to get out of League 1 at the first attempt.

“I think the back five or six will be already set,” he said. “David Martin, Kyle McFadzean, George Baldock, Joe Walsh, Dean Lewington and Darren Potter.

“The likes of Samir Carruthers and Ben Reeves then, then we can build and support the rest of the positions.

“We’ve improved the back six from the team that got promoted, bringing in Joe and George.”

The next phase though will rely on Robinson’s recruitment department in finding something different to what he already has at his disposal - though that might not be too difficult, given Robinson’s shortage of numbers at the top end of the pitch.

It could also require some quick wheeling and dealing, pouncing on targets before others get interested and price Dons out of the player.

Robinson said: “We need another shake up,but there’s no point in shaking things up if we can’t bring in players who are better. That puts massive pressure on me and the recruitment team.

“We can’t let ourselves be priced out of the market, especially by other teams in this league, if we want to be competitive.”

And that recruitment ambition, and potential hindrance, means Dons cannot afford to make sweeping predictions about their expectations next season.

Robinson added: “Before I can say ‘we’re going to win the league’ we have to make the players who are already here believe it by bringing in better players.

“That combination, with the best players and better ones coming in, anything is achievable. There has to be a freshness and newness to it.

“It has to be, and that’s down to summer recruitment.

“I want people to look at us and think ‘wow, they’ve been great in recent years.’

“I want teams to show us respect, and we can take them to the cleaners. If we don’t, we’ll be also-rans.

“We’ve got to get an ego back and a bounce in our step. We’ve got to act like champions, like the best team in the league.

“Whether we are or aren’t, we have to have that mentality to compete.

“For that to be believable, we’ve got to get the players and make cosmetic changes downstairs. Things have to be different.”