Dons are still transitioning as a team
"I know how much this season would be one of transition and I feel it’s been better than I thought it would"
This season has remained a learning experience and one of transition for MK Dons.
The reign of Russell Martin has almost been a tale of three teams. Since taking over in November 2019, he took a toiling side built by former boss Paul Tisdale and secured their League One safety. From there, the sale of major assets forced him to rethink his team for the new campaign, before another clear-out in January gave the team second new-look for the remainder of the season.
Just three of the players who started against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road in October - one of which was Andrew Fisher making his first league start for the club - started in the reverse fixture on Tuesday night, emphasising the difference in the sides across the season.
While they are in the midst of a bad run of form, losing four of their last five games, Martin has remained steadfast in his ambition of simply improving on their finish of 19th last season. Despite reaching the heady heights of 11th at one stage, currently Dons sit 16th and 10 points clear of the drop zone ahead of this Saturday's visit of Accrington Stanley.
With the turnover and regular change in the squad this season, Martin said his team are still transitioning into a vision of what he wants, and admitted some of the change has been messy but necessary.
"I think it’s been tough as it has been a season of change and adjustment," said Martin. "Andy Fisher made his debut in the last Blackpool game so it tells you it’s a team in its infancy.
"We had time last season but we were fighting and building our identity. There was a big turnover of players in the summer and January. I’ve been pleased with how everyone has dealt with change and adapted too. But we’ve done it while improving our identity and process.
"Change can be messy and I was well aware of that, that’s why I’ve remained pretty level headed. We’re in a tough moment with results, but I know how much this season would be one of transition and I feel it’s been better than I thought it would.
"The boys have given me so much optimism for the future and why I don’t get to upset when we lose on Tuesday because we were much more like us."