MK Dons in 2021: The good bits of this year

Hiram Boateng has certainly enjoyed an up-and-down year at MK Dons, but it is finishing on a highHiram Boateng has certainly enjoyed an up-and-down year at MK Dons, but it is finishing on a high
Hiram Boateng has certainly enjoyed an up-and-down year at MK Dons, but it is finishing on a high | Getty Images
We take a look back at some of the highs and lows from the last 12 months

In a year with plenty of ups and downs at MK Dons, here are a few of the things we enjoyed about 2021, and a few of the things we’d rather forget when we look back.

We start with...

The Good:

Recruitment in Jan/summer

Harry Darling, Matt O’Riley, Warren O’Hora, Scott Twine - need we say more?! The recruitment process at MK Dons has been put into overdrive this year. With Russell Martin looking to overhaul his squad and build it in his own image, while also replacing parts which wanted away, the calibre of player which has arrived thanks to the work of Liam Sweeting behind-the-scenes has been of the highest order, with barely a dud in the pack.

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Liam Manning's appointment

Liam Manning celebrates with the MK Dons supporters after the 4-0 win over MorecambeLiam Manning celebrates with the MK Dons supporters after the 4-0 win over Morecambe
Liam Manning celebrates with the MK Dons supporters after the 4-0 win over Morecambe | mkdons

Like the player recruitment process, the swift appointment of Liam Manning from Belgian club Lommel to replace Martin looks like a perfect match. Manning has built on what Dons did well last season, while injecting more pace, urgency and, crucially, a change in approach when it is needed. Dons look every bit the play-off contenders they have claimed to be down the years, and Manning’s level-headed approach has given a new dimension this season.

Style of play easy on the eye

Scott Twine has slotted straight into the MK Dons set up thanks to the style of playScott Twine has slotted straight into the MK Dons set up thanks to the style of play
Scott Twine has slotted straight into the MK Dons set up thanks to the style of play | mk dons

At the turn of the year, the style of football finally appeared to click. While there were teething issues and there was no-one in the grounds to actually watch it in person, Dons’ style of play began to precede them and teams set up to try and stop it. Initially a possession-based juggernaut, when things started to click they put a run of form together which saw them end last season strongly. More tinkering and changing this season has turned them into a team which is never short of drama and excitement.

Hiram Boateng’s Bolton return

Exiled and destined never to be seen again, Hiram Boateng was probably the only person who thought he would play for the club again. Following Russell Martin’s departure to Swansea City though, Dean Lewington moved swiftly to bring the midfielder back in from the cold, give him a squad number and throw him back into the team for the season opener at Bolton. And when he scored to send Dons 3-2 up? Chaos everywhere (press box included!) as the good news story of 2021 was complete.

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