TAKING on Huddersfield Town will be the biggest test of the season so far according to Dons boss Karl Robinson.
The Terriers come to stadium:mk on Saturday on the back of a 33-game unbeaten streak in League 1 matches, and were favourites for play-off promotion last season but came unstuck in the final against Peterborough United, consigning them to another season in the third tier.
Huddersfield were also one of only two sides to do the ‘double’ over Dons last term, winning 4-1 at the Galpharm Stadium, and 3-1 in the return fixture at stadium:mk.
This season though, Dons are level on 16 points with the west Yorkshire club and have a game in hand, making for an exciting third versus fourth match-up on Saturday. And Town will arrive in great form after their impressive 3-0 win at Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Robinson. “They’ve been undefeated in 33 league games – what an unbelievable record that is. It’s phenomenal, and it will be even harder for us than last Saturday was (against Sheffield Wednesday.)
“They beat us twice last year. But in the 3-1 defeat here at stadium:mk I thought we were the better side for the first half, and they scored two of the best goals you’re likely to see. We missed a penalty too which would have got us back on level terms.”
Like Robinson, Town have put faith in a young manager in Lee Clark. Taking the job nearly two years ago, the former Newcastle midfielder has twice taken his side to the brink of promotion, only to have their hearts broken in the play-offs. And Robinson believes it’s now or never for Huddersfield to make the step up to the Championship.
He said: “Clark has done an amazing job in the last two years, but hasn’t been promoted, and they probably feel this is the year they have to go up.
“The players will all know that, and will be fully focused on it.”
Saturday’s game comes off the back of two away journeys, and two more will follow as Dons travel to Burnley on Tuesday night and then take on Bury at Gigg Lane next Saturday – but Robinson is keen to get back on home soil, even if it is for only one game in five.
He said: “It feels like we’ve been away all season. It’s been weird so far this season. It feels like we’ve been away, away, away, home, away, away, home!
“But we’ve got a lot of the longer journeys out of the way. Thankfully they’re done, and we’re coming back home where we belong.”