MK Dons and Peterborough renew their rivalry this weekend, but the intensity will be greater in the stands than on the pitch according to Karl Robinson.
Clashes between the two are eagerly anticipated from both sets of fans, with bragging rights and one-upmanship on offer as well as three points.
But while some fans will want to win this game more than any other this season, the Dons boss insists relations between the clubs off the pitch are far-friendlier these days and it’ll be like any other for his players.
HEAD TO HEAD: MK Dons vs Peterborough at the MK Citizen MK Dons Stats Centre
“There a little bit more of a spice to it, but that’ll be in the stands rather than on the green stuff I think,” said Robinson.
“We know the importance of these games to the fans, but we have a lot of respect for them, as they have for us. And that goes right the way up to board-room level, because there’s a lot of respect for people like Darragh and Barry Fry too.
“We go into these games wanting to win, but with all due respect to Peterborough, it doesn’t matter who the opposition is - we want to win. If we can put more into this game, I’m not doing my job every week.
“We know the fans want a Twitter war or whatever afterwards, but it’s just another game for us.”
Last time the sides met, Dons ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Peterborough, then under Darren Ferguson, on their way to promotion to the Championship. However, Dons’ record against Peterborough isn’t riddled with victories, having to look back to the 2011 play-off semi-final for their last victory.
Robinson said: “The second half of that play-off game was the most perfect performance I’ve seen, apart from the referee. We’ve always put on a good show here, and they’ve generally beaten us at their place. People will look back the 3-0 game too, where I was suspended and we were very good.”
The rivalry reached it’s peak with Peterborough guided by Darren Ferguson. Now with Grant McCann in charge at London Road though, Posh have two wins and two losses under their belt in League 1, but still offer an approach synonymous with Peterborough.
Robinson continued: “They have a number of qualities - individually, they’re very good. They can rotate, they’re aggressive out of position and they’re quick and dynamic in defence. I think they beat Millwall 5-1, so that shows they have the fire power too. They always go forward in the right manner.”
Dons have made a solid start to the season too, picking up seven points in four matches with what Robinson still describes as a threadbare squad.
“I didn’t expect to have this many points with the lack of players,” he added. “We can’t stand still, we have to keep moving forwards. The depression seems to have dwindled. People don’t talk about it any more, and it has been important the players have moved on from that.”