KARL Robinson threatened some of his under-performing stars with the boot after ‘shambolic defending’ allowed Walsall to leave stadium:mk with an extra Christmas present.
The 4-2 defeat was arguably Dons’ worst performance of the season, particularly in the first half as the defence simply switched off to allow Febian Brandy and Will Grigg net, cancelling out Ryan Lowe’s opener and Dean Bowditch’s equaliser.
And with a game against League 1’s form side Coventry City on Saturday, Robinson said he would not be playing the defence of Mathias Doumbe, Antony Kay, Dean Lewington and Adam Chicksen together again.
“It was shambolic defending,” he said. “Probably the worst defensive performance since I’ve been here. To back off and allow them to turn in the box and get shots off – kamikaze stuff really. They have to put that right quickly. I don’t and won’t accept it.
“I don’t have any other choices. You think that by putting in a centre half in at centre half you’re doing the right thing… But Adam Chicksen held that back four together. That back four won’t play together against Coventry on Saturday.”
Angelo Balanta, filling in for injured Luke Chadwick in the hole was fairly lacklustre in his performance before being pulled off at the break, but his manager said there were worse performers in his side than the Colombian.
He said: “You can pick out Angelo, but there were others out there who were worse than him who didn’t deserve to wear our shirt, and they won’t be if it continues.
“The players know my feelings, but they know they didn’t perform well. I didn’t point fingers, but I told them ‘you know who you are. If you don’t want to be here, you know where my office is.’
“If they want to neglect the shirt like some did today, they’ll be out of the team and out of the football club.
“They have had a bad day, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but they need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Patrick Bamford was fit again after his spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, but his reappearance was ended after half an hour when a horrible tackle by Saddlers skipper Andy Butler saw the teenager doubled-up in agony on the pitch, forcing him down the tunnel before the full time whistle.
Robinson was left frustrated with the heavy-handedness dealt to Bamford, and felt the punishment should have been more severe.
He said: “I thought the tackle on him was bordering on assault. He kicked him, didn’t hit him then lashed out again. It looked like he tried to do him, tried to hurt him. I like firm, in-your-face tackles, but not when someone goes to hurt someone.
“To lose Patrick is a big thing for us. But when you add him to Gary MacKenzie, Stephen Gleeson and Luke Chadwick, we’re going to be depleted. At this level, it’s so hard to replace them.
“I’ve got to do my job in January and certain players have to stand up and be counted. If they can’t, I’ll make changes.
“There will be a little bit of money, but I’ll have to make my own money, and that means letting a couple of people go. I’ll have to be creative and call in some big favours.”