Time will tell on Dons’ deadline day flurry

FA Cup fourth round. 'MK Dons V Chelsea. 'Karl Robinson. PNL-160102-232430002

FA Cup fourth round. 'MK Dons V Chelsea. 'Karl Robinson. PNL-160102-232430002

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You wait hours for a bus to arrive, then they all come at once. And that was certainly the case on transfer deadline day for MK Dons.

In fact, the same metaphor aptly represents the entire transfer window at stadium:mk.

Dons fans have been crying out for a striker with proven goal-scoring ability since the summer, and while Nicky Maynard managed to appease them somewhat, the need for another source has never been more evident than in his absence.

There was more news of outgoings than incomings though as Karl Robinson chose not to spend next season’s budget six months early.

Diego Poyet was first out the door, quickly followed by Cristian Benavente, Sam Gallagher,Sergio Aguza and Mark Randall.

While there was a brief respite with the introductions of Jake Forster-Caskey and Jonny Williams, but the striker they were chasing continued to prove illusive.

On the eve of the deadline, Robinson said he had no immediate targets. As it transpired, he would swoop for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Alex Revell before the day was done, but there were still more to go.

Lee Hodson and Simon Church were sent north of the border with Kilmarnock and Aberdeen respectively to get game time ahead of the European Championships , while Dale Jennings’ contract was cancelled.

Heavy importance has been stacked now on the emergency loan window, which reopens next week. Having wiped a fair chunk off their wage bill, and with cheques ready to clear following their big payday against Chelsea on Sunday, Dons could still be in the hunt for more players to strengthen the starting line-up.

The proof will have to be in the pudding though, specifically in the goal-scoring department. Like Church, Revell hasn’t really set the world alight during his career, though the signing of Emmanuel-Thomas could prove to be a stroke of great fortune, having set League 1 alight last season for champions Bristol City.

The clear-out certainly leaves Dons thin on the ground, and though the players who have left were, perhaps Poyet aside, squad players at best, any injuries will leave Robinson threadbare.

The reintroduction of George Baldock will breathe a new life into the defence, just as Joe Walsh’s recent arrival has, though there will still be questions if silly individual errors continue at the back.

Maynard was given a promising 15 minutes against Chelsea in his bid to get back to full fitness, and with two new players ready to push for his place up front, competition for places is hotting up.

With huge trips to Cardiff City and Derby County sandwiching a game against Middlesbrough, Dons face a huge challenge in coming weeks.

The proof of how successful this transfer window will be though will be in the eating. And if they’ve got on the wrong bus, they might find themselves heading for a destination they’re not too keen to return to.