Karl Robinson is preparing for the biggest rebuilding programme of his MK Dons tenure this summer.
Dons’ 3-1 defeat to Leyton Orient on the final day of the season means Dons finish 10th in League 1 - something Robinson says cannot happen again.
But with as many as nine of the 18 man squad named against Orient having question marks over their futures at stadium:mk, it could be a dramatically different look to MK Dons at the start of next season.
“The fans deserve a rebuilding programme to be competitive, because we can’t be in this position again,” he said. “We can’t be 10th. The fans have stuck by us in good and bad times this season, and we need to repay them. It’ll be a positive summer.
“We built a team here over three years, but some of those players have had to move on or we couldn’t keep, and now we’ve come to a stage where some of them have seen their time out here. It’s an exciting time for me.
“I know what we’re trying to do is right. But to finish 10th with that many people out, it shows we’ve done well behind the scene.
“I’ll be surprised if 20 per cent of that side start on the opening day of next season - not many teams can say that.”
But while the manager is far from happy with a 10th place finish, 14 points adrift of the play-off spots, he can take some positives from the back end of the season.
He said: “It has been a disappointing four months. For this team to finish in 10th is a tremendous positive, with seven of our starting 11 out. What does that mean when we get them fit, and bring in players in the summer.”
And Robinson blames the injury record on the poor performance against Leyton Orient.
“I bet Russell Slade has picked that team nearly 35 times this season,” he said. “My side has never played together, and it looked like a team put together for the game today.
“We looked disorganised, but it has answered a lot of questions about fringe players I needed answering.
“Ryan Hall worked his socks off, and deserved his goal. I thought Izale McLeod worked his socks off too.
“I think he has been the one in the last three games that has stood up and been counted. His work ethic is second to none. And with two goals and an assist in his last three, I can’t ask for much more.”
And Robinson has left the ball in Stephen Gleeson’s court as to whether he wants to sign a new deal with MK Dons or play his football elsewhere next season.
Robinson added: “They are questions we will have to answer in coming weeks, but we’ve got some great players in there, in Darren Potter and Dele Alli.
“It’s down to Stephen to decide what he wants to do. I’m not going to push him or force him. He knows what we think of him. We will see.”