MK Dons’ youngsters are to be given another chance in the first team on Tuesday night as Karl Robinson looks set to ring the changes for the EFL Cup second round against Reading.
After fielding a team made predominantly of youngsters against Newport County in the first round, Robinson will hand a second chance to most of the squad again for the trip to the Madejski Stadium.
“We’re going there to play the kids again: Oran Jackson, George B Williams, Ben Tilney, Giorgio Rasulo, Kabonga Tshimanga, Brandon Thomas-Asante - they’ll all get another chance,” said Robinson on Monday.
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“It’s important I stick with that. It’s a massive step up, playing a team near the bottom of League 2 to a top Championship side, but if we want to develop the players, they’ll have to accept the challenge.
“The result doesn’t have a massive impact on me. We’re never going to win this competition, it’s not as if we’re getting rid of a Cup we’re going to win. But there are more achievable goals for us this season and we need to focus on that.
“We’re using these games to develop our young players, they’ve got me this far. Hopefully, the ones who get their opportunity will stand up and be counted.”
Dons and Reading met twice in the Championship last season, and it was the side from MK that took spoils.
After a dogged defensive performance at the Madejski Stadium saw them nick a point, Joe Walsh’s acrobatic effort at Stadium MK saw them pick up three points against the Royals.
But taking such a young, inexperienced side to take on Jaap Stam’s team, Robinson expects a much harder affair this time around.
“It was hard when I took a Championship side there, so it’ll be even more difficult taking a team mostly of U21s.
“We should have won it when Church hit the post. Reading are an unbelievable side, and we’re streaks away from them.”
Stam’s Dutch influence helped Reading through the opening round, with goals from Joey van den Berg and Roy Beerens helping the Royals past Plymouth 2-0.
And they’re unbeaten at the Madejski this season, but come into the game without a win since their first round game, having lost two of their last three in the Championship.