HEAD-TO-HEAD: Friends go to battle when Dons take on Charlton

Dan Micciche and Karl Robinson
Dan Micciche and Karl Robinson

Dan Micciche said former MK Dons boss Karl Robinson was one of the first people to phone him after he took over the hot seat last month.

Micciche worked under Robinson's umbrella during his time in the Dons academy, and the pair have remained in touch since Micciche left for the England set up.

The pair will go head-to-head for the first time on Saturday as Robinson brings his Charlton Athletic side to Stadium MK.

But despite the pair remaining friends off the pitch, Micciche insists there won't be any extra spice to Saturday's game.

"Not at all," he said. "Every game has spice to it, every game counts. We know we have 15 games to go, we know what we have to do to stay in this league.

"We've got a very good relationship. We have kept in touch even when I left the club. We spoke regularly and he was one of the first people to phone me when I got the job and we met the following evening.

"I've got a lot of respect for him. To become a manager at 28 is no mean feat and his record speaks for itself. I know what his team are capable of and how he'll prepare and I'm looking forward to coming up against him."

After six-and-a-half-years in charge of Dons, Robinson has already come up against his former club five times in 13 months. Robinson has gotten the better of Dons just once in those five meetings - the 1-0 win at Stadium MK on Boxing Day 2016.

And the Charlton boss says he is not expecting a hostile reception from the home fans when he returns to Stadium MK for the third time since his departure in November 2016.

"No, I don’t," he said. "I have a lot of respect for that football club and the people within it. I think people don’t realise with the controversy that surrounds the football club, the people that go and watch them each week are great people. It’s a shame to see them where they are.

"Me and the chairman still speak, we’ve got a good relationship but with all due respect, one thing they certainly know is how passionate I am about winning.

"Before the game and after the game my respect for them will be impeccable but it always is to every team we play against. During the game I’m here to win and that’s just the way we are. We’re going there to win and that’s our objective.

"Looking at their recent results, they’ve only lost by one goal. They could have argued that it would be so, so different but that is the nature of the beast while you are down there. Watching their games the last few days, they are playing a back five with a diamond which is a bit different. You can see they are certainly starting to get a style and a way back of playing.

"We’re under no illusions of how difficult it is going to be but we’re fully focused."