Dons close in on Ryan Harley signing

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KARL Robinson confirmed MK Dons are in talks with Brighton’s Ryan Harley in a bid to bolster the midfield following his side’s 3-2 defeat to Coventry City.

A slow start to the second half cost Dons dearly as their 2-1 half time advantage evaporated courtesy of a Stephen Elliot brace.

Without Stephen Gleeson and Luke Chadwick for the foreseeable future, Robinson confirmed reports that he is talking to Harley about a loan move to stadium:mk.

“It is well documented that Ryan Harley is here today, and he was one of the best players in this league a few years ago. He’s an exceptional talent. We can’t confirm the deal, but we’re in talks and the two clubs are talking and doing the best to make it happen, and he wants to be here. Hopefully we’ll have him for the Notts County game.

“We look weak in the centre at the moment. It’s hard when you’ve only got players who haven’t played a lot this season.

“I want to get players in before I send players out, but I’ve got to worry about the budget.

The signing of Harley could however mean an end to Jabo Ibehre’s MK Dons career. Having played for most of the season on loan at Colchester, Robinson will meet with the striker on Monday to discuss his future.

“We will see how it goes with Jabo,” Robinson said. 2We need to make some leeway to get things sorted. I’m having a meeting with Jabo on Monday to talk about things.”

The defeat against Coventry sees Dons slip out of the play-off spots for the first time since November, but Robinson was pleased to see the players respond after the humiliating loss to Walsall on Boxing Day.

He said: “I don’t think we deserved to lose. It was just five minutes of madness. We just didn’t switch on in the second half. It was difficult. I didn’t know what else we could do. Coventry have tremendous strength in depth and Mark Robins has done great work to galvanise them again.

“The performance was important, and we now know where we need to go from here. We were brutally honest after the Walsall game, but today there wasn’t an awful lot wrong.

“In two games we’ve conceded seven goals, when before we’ve only conceded 17. It has stunned us all, and we’ve scored four at home and not even got a point.

“Hopefully, we’re close to making this signing and it’ll strengthen us.”

While fans won’t have been too happy at seeing Stephen Gleeson with his foot in a cast in the dug out before kick off, they certainly were pleased to see Gary MacKenzie return to the bench having spent most of the season out with a hip injury.

The Scottish defender however won’t be fit for another two weeks yet.

Robinson added: “I saw him clap the fans and get a standing ovation, but he’s about two or three weeks away from full fitness at the moment. I had to name him because I couldn’t fill the bench.”