Swindon’s squad selection against Preston would land them in hot water if it was in any other competition than League 1 according to Karl Robinson.
Mark Cooper made wholesale changes to his Swindon side for their trip to Deepdale to face Preston, but were comprehensively beaten 3-0.
If it was in a cup, there’d be something done about it.Karl Robinson
Dons meanwhile were 3-2 winners against Rochdale, ensuring the automatic promotion battle goes down to the final day of the season.
With fines dished out to clubs for naming weakened sides in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Robinson questioned whether it was fair for Swindon to make so many changes with others relying on their results.
“They will say they have to look after themselves,” he said. “If it was in a cup, there’d be something done about it.
“Mark Cooper will say he’s done it for the right reason, and I’ve got to respect his integrity. It’s difficult for me to take, but we still had a job to do. I’ve got no fear any more.
“We went to Rotherham last season knowing we could help some of the other play-off teams. We had to compete. We had a job to do. But we just look after ourselves. That’s all we can keep doing.
“It has really fuelled my players. They’ve given me petrol. We’re not tired, we’re ready.
“What will be will be. Our judgement will be told in eight days.”
At Spotland, Robinson felt Rochdale were deserving of all three points against his side. Dean Bowditch and Samir Carruthers put Dons ahead in the first half, before Peter Vincenti pulled one back in the second half. Daniel Powell came off the bench to restore Dons’ two goal lead, though Ian Henderson made it nervy at the end as he made it 3-2 with four minutes remaining.
Robinson said: “We were great in a different way. Rochdale deserved to win, they were the better team and we rode our luck. We made errors, and we switched after 10 minutes.
“We’ve not needed lady luck recently, and we needed it today. We weren’t great and take it to the last game of the season.”
And lady luck was certainly on their side when both Antony Kay and David Martin made incredible saves to keep Dale at bay.
Robinson added: “David Martin’s save was as good as I’ve ever seen. And Antony Kay’s header from under the bar, with a six foot four beast looking to put him into the stand. That’s the best save of the season for me.”
With Dons’ destiny out of their hands, Robinson was philosophical about his side’s season.
“I never thought I’d stand here with 88 points and not get promoted,” he said. “That’s all we can do. We’ve played 45 very difficult games and have pushed ourselves to the limit every second.”