Heart breaks and promises - Dan Micciche's first month at MK Dons

Dan Micciche
Dan Micciche

Dan Micciche is confident, he has a plan and he has promised MK Dons fans the club won't get relegated. He also hasn't won a game in month he has been in charge.

The football may be more attractive, the passing moves more exciting and played at a quicker pace than under predecessor Robbie Neilson, but so far, the results have been worse.

Last Saturday at the Highbury Stadium in Fleetwood, he was dragged into the away end and promised the travelling Dons fans the club would remain in League 1. His optimism, if a little naive, is endearing and very much cut from a similar cloth to that of his chairman Pete Winkelman. Still learning his trade, Micciche is desperate to prove himself at first team level but his job to date has been to turn around the sinking ship, and it has been 'steady as she goes' so far.

Here are the facts: Micciche lost the first five games in charge before picking up two draws in the space of three days against bottom club Rochdale and Fleetwood - the only other club to have a worse record in the division since the turn of the year. In six games, Dons have scored three goals, conceded eight, let slip leads twice and are deeper in the relegation scrap than when he took over.

He has been unlucky with injuries - he arrived at the club knowing Joe Walsh and Scott Golbourne would be out for a significant period, before Alex Gilbey then suffered a similar fate; Chuks Aneke was suspended and lasted just 14 minutes on his return before missing the next two games with a hamstring problem; Peter Pawlett's injury woes continued and has played just 58 minutes under the new manager; Marcus Tavernier has returned to Middlesbrough for treatment, making just one start for the club since Neilson's departure.

But Micciche's line has never swayed - he has a plan to get Dons out of trouble. Results will come if they follow his plan. He's not looking at the league table, just concentrating on getting the right number of points from games he earmarks. He'd have wanted a lot more than two points though from trips to Oldham, Rochdale and Fleetwood who are similarly staring League 2 in the face. Now five points from safety in 22nd in League 1 and with games running out, this plan of his has to come to fruition or he risks breaking his promise to the fans.

Micciche applauds the fans

Micciche applauds the fans

This Saturday will be the first of four home games in five when they take on Bristol Rovers at Stadium MK. Any manager worth their salt will say they will want to take maximum points at home, but realistically, Dons should be aiming to come away from the next five games with a minimum of eight points if they are to hold out any chance of beating the drop. Even that might not be enough though with Fleetwood now under new management, Rochdale with a glut of games in hand - albeit six points behind Dons at the bottom - and Oldham picking up results recently.

With 12 games to go, nothing is written on the wall yet but it is getting harder to see light at the end of the tunnel. Micciche's first win, when it does eventually come, will be met not so much with optimism but with relief and the knowledge that more are desperately needed to avoid the unthinkable.