Players could face an uncertain future under new boss

MK Dons in training
MK Dons in training

Richie Barker has warned the MK Dons squad they may face an uncertain future when a new manager takes over at the helm.

Barker will take charge of Dons’ FA Cup first round tie with Spennymoor Town on Saturday and is expected to remain on the touchline for the Checkatrade Trophy match against Norwich City on Tuesday night too as the club continue their search for a new manager.

But Barker, who has admitted he doesn’t want the top job at Stadium MK, says some players will face an uncertain time under new leadership.

“For some players, if they’ve been in the team, they have to start impressing someone else,” he said. “For those who haven’t been in the team, there’s an opportunity to be in the team.

“Every day, I get the players coming and asking me who is coming in, and if I know anything. And I don’t! But you can see that one or two players who play regularly might not be playing regularly under a new manager.

“They’ve been excellent; they’ve done everything I’ve asked of them. But now it’s about proving to the next manager that they’re worthy of being here.

“And I’m sure they’re also aware that a new manager, in the crossover, will ask my opinion on players.

“We forget at this level, they still have bills to pay. Some of them have contracts expiring in the summer. Some might have bought a house, some might have just had children and it leaves you at a crossroads.”

Karl Robinson left the club nearly two weeks ago, following the 3-0 home defeat to Southend, but Dons are yet to announce a replacement.

However, Barker, who managed Bury, Crawley and Portsmouth before taking over as assistant manager to Robinson on 2014, believes someone will be in place by the time Dons take on Walsall next Saturday.

“Everyone at the club would like to see someone in charge by the Walsall game and I’m pretty sure that will be the case,” he added. “The timing of everything that happened meant after the Sheffield United game, the next two games – the FA Cup game and the dead rubber on Tuesday – meant we didn’t have to rush the process and the club could take their time.”