Dons are working to keep trio

Karl Robinson wants Richie Barker to stay. Pic: Tom Blackman
Karl Robinson wants Richie Barker to stay. Pic: Tom Blackman

Karl Robinson says he’s working to keep Alan Smith, Stephen Gleeson and Richie Barker next season.

Both Smith and Gleeson’s contracts are set to expire in June, while Barker, who has replaced Head of Coaching Gary Waddock when he took the Oxford job last month, was only appointed on a temporary basis.

The Dons boss though is ready to meet with both Smith and Gleeson this week in a bid to tie them down for next season.

On the topic of Gleeson, he said: “I’m desperate for Stephen Gleeson to stay. It’s whether we can come to an agreement. The player knows what we and the fans think of him.

“He feels he’s had two bad seasons, indifferent with injury. But I’m sitting down with his advisors in the next seven days and hopefully we can put something together to make him stay.”

Meanwhile with Smith, Robinson admitted he’d love the former Manchester United man to join his coaching staff.

He said: “I’d like him to hop over the fence if that’s what he wants to do. He’s a great guy, he’s strong minded. He’d fit in well with the group off the field.

“But you just don’t know. I think Smithy would play Sunday League football with his mates if he could because he loves the game that much. I’m very lucky to have managed him.

“Alan Smith’s endeavour and qualities are there for all to see. We’re having a sit down today (Thursday) to take about what paths and avenues he wants to take with his career.

“I have to be transparent with him, because he’s an amazing guy. As a friend and a person, he knows what he means to me, and he knows what the fans think of him.”

Former Portsmouth boss Barker joined Robinson’s coaching staff in March, and Robinson is impressed with his impact and would like to see him continue in his role at stadium:mk next season.

Robinson said: “Since Richie has come in he’s done a great job, and hopefully we can move things forward and try and make that a little bit more permanent.”