Players must deal with being left out sometimes - Robbo

Karl Robinson's squad rotation policy has worked so far this season. Pic: JAR.
Karl Robinson's squad rotation policy has worked so far this season. Pic: JAR.

There is no room for complacency in the MK Dons changing room at the moment as Karl Robinson continues his squad rotation policy.

Dons haven’t picked the same team in consecutive games once this season, with the attacking quartet most susceptible to change each week.

But it seems to be working. The centre-forward position, shared between Benik Afobe and Will Grigg, has hit 22 goals this season, and opposing teams are left scratching their heads at who they may come up against on either flank on any given Saturday.

It’s a policy that has seen them climb to fourth in League 1 too, and they’ll go top if they win their two games in hand.

Robinson admits that some players are frustrated by the rotation policy, but says it’s part and parcel of playing football.

“Obviously I’m going to upset people and they’ll be frustrated with me. But at a higher level, you’ll come across squads of 24 top, top players. “This should be something that is the norm. We’ve got to have a big club mentality in that respect.

“If we want to compete, we need a better batch of players, more players of the same quality, and I think we’ve got that this year.”

Grigg and Afobe are probably the most obvious pair who have been rotated this season, but both seem happy to see the other thrive out on the field, knowing exactly when they’ll get their next chance.

And for Robinson, the trick to keeping them happy is simple.

“By talking to them and being honest with them,” he said. “They all know my passion for this club, so if they don’t like it, they can leave. Ultimately, it’s my decision.

“This is not a stepping stone for me, and I don’t want it to be one for them.”

In previous seasons, Robinson admits some players have been able to rest on their laurels, knowing they were likely to get into the team regardless of their form.

He said: “There has been (complacency) in the past, yes. But I’m doing it the way I want this year. I’ve been here for a long time, and people wonder whether I’m being complacent.

“I’m not, and I don’t expect that from my players either.

“The players have no choice but to up their game. I think you can see that in Daniel Powell. He has upped his levels this season, and it’s great.

“It’s hard for a manager to keep up that motivation, but when someone’s hot on your tail, it make life easier for me.

“Obviously there’s moans and grumbles, but you’re always going to get that. Everyone wants to be here.”