The current MK Dons squad has come to the end of it’s cycle, and a fundamental change is needed if they club is to progress next season, regardless of the division.
Lacking a talismanic midfield maestro, short of a goal-scorer and certainly missing a spark this season, Dons find themselves staring at an immediate return to League 1.
The summer recruitment policy fell flat on it’s face, January’s loan signings have failed to really fire and that has reflected on their current league position.
Two years ago, Karl Robinson faced a similar problem: a team littered with emergency loan signings to fire fight, consigned to losing Stephen Gleeson and having already shed Shaun Williams, Dons stuttered to a 10th place finish - their lowest under the manager.
That summer proved pivotal for club, signing players who made a difference while capitalising on the loan market to pick up the likes of Benik Afobe and Will Grigg.
And it worked, with the prize at the end of the rainbow turning out to be promotion. But despite making the step up to the Championship, that perfect summer was never repeated.
But in order to do that, Robinson knows what is required to progress, and it requires a sizeable chequebook.
“We’ve learned if we want to be at this level, we have to buy players,” said Robinson. “And that must come from the chairman, or me pushing him to a point where he can’t say no.
“But you never know how hard you can push any chairman. It’s finding that balance.
“But would one player solve the problem? We’d need three or four.
“We’ve fallen short in a number of areas this season. The league table doesn’t tell any lies. Right now, we’re the third worst team in the Championship.
“We have to understand and learn from that. For as much as I love this club, I know I can walk out of this building in the summer with my head held high.
“We’ve made some big mistakes, me included of course.
“We can’t paint over the cracks. We need to knock a few things down, and rebuild on a better foundation.
“We came up a football club with certain things plaster-boarded to an extent. I don’t think it was built on solid concrete.”