HEAD-TO-HEAD: Robbo goes from from friend to foe

Football: It's a funny old game. When MK Dons and Charlton Athletic were drawn together in the FA Cup, few could have predicted than anything other than a place in the third round would be at stake.
Dons chairman Pete Winkelman and former Dons boss Karl RobinsonDons chairman Pete Winkelman and former Dons boss Karl Robinson
Dons chairman Pete Winkelman and former Dons boss Karl Robinson

Of course, much more lies on it now. Seventeen days passed between the draw and Karl Robinson's appointment as manager of the Addicks, and now the fixture represents more of a grudge match just a cup tie.

For Dons, it will be a marker to their former boss that they've moved on. While debacle to replace him has taken longer than anyone would have suspected, they finally appear to have found their man in the form of Robbie Neilson.

Whether he indeed takes up a spot on the touchline alongside Robinson at The Valley on Saturday, or whether that responsibility lies with Richie Barker - Robinson's longest serving assistant - for an eighth time is yet to be established. Neilson is also, of course, yet to be confirmed as Dons boss.

For Robinson meanwhile, it's a chance to get one over on his own paymasters, while getting his feet firmly under the table in south London with a win in his first game for his new supporters and potentially landing a big money third round draw.

Both sides plied their trade in the Championship last season, but both had campaigns they'd rather forget. In fact, both games between the sides last season were far from memorable - the game at The Valley in particular was far from vintage as both sides sought to get out of trouble, only to battle out a torrid 0-0 draw.

In fact, Robinson's record against Charlton during his Dons tenure wasn't really one to write home about: in seven match-ups, Dons won just twice, and only picked up a point when playing in London.

Charlton though head into the game with the favourable record of late. While Dons won their first league game since October 1 last weekend against Coventry City to climb out of the relegation zone, Charlton have lost just one of their last 10 outings in all competitions. But it was a run which cost Russell Slade his top, allowing Robinson to take over a week ago.

And they booked their spot in the second round in convincing fashion with a 3-1 win over League 1 table toppers Scunthorpe. Dons meanwhile edged past Spennymoor 3-2 in a game more comfortable than the scoreline may suggest in what was their first win at Stadium MK in more than eight months.

Away from home, Dons' record is significantly better with seven wins this season coming on the road - the win against Spennymoor remaining their only triumph at home.