Dons face one final league hurdle before play-offs

editorial image

KARL Robinson will take no risks this Saturday when his Dons side take on Walsall in a bid to confirm their fourth place finish in League 1.

After his ‘project’ against Rochdale last time out – which included handing 16-year-old prospect Brendan Galloway his first start for the club – the manager is expected to name his full-strength starting 11 for the visit of a Saddlers side now safe from relegation.

And he hopes his side will send out an ominous message in the final game of the season ahead of their vital two-legged play-off semi final tie against Huddersfield Town.

Ironically, it was Walsall who gifted Dons the upper hand in the battle for fourth spot when they earned a 1-1 draw at home to the Terriers last Saturday, meaning that realistically Dons need just a point at stadium:mk to ensure home advantage in the play-off second leg.

Top scorer Dean Bowditch, Charlie MacDonald and Alan Smith – who all started on the bench in the 2-1 victory against an already relegated Rochdale last time out – are expected to start on Saturday, with Stephen Gleeson likely to drop back in alongside Darren Potter, who picked up three awards at the Dons Player of the Year awards ceremony on Monday night.

Robinson’s men will look to extend their superb unbeaten run to six matches and go into the play-offs on top form, with a huge momentum advantage over Huddersfield, who have struggled for form lately and face a tricky final home game with Yeovil Town.

The Walsall game will prove to be a memorable occasion for John Gorman too. On Tuesday, the popular assistant manager announced that he will retire from football at the end of the season, making the fixture his penultimate one in front of the club’s home fans.

And he is desperate to end his long and illustrious career by helping Dons back into the Championship.