Robbo brings back striker rotation policy

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Alex Revell
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Alex Revell

Alex Revell, Nicky Maynard and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas will be rotated regularly in a bid to keep Dons’ front-line fresh and in form.

With three strikers at his disposal, manager Karl Robinson finally has options up front, each with their own strengths.

Benik Afobe and Will Grigg

Benik Afobe and Will Grigg

And with a busy Championship schedule coming up, with three games in seven days from Saturday, the Robinson wants to keep his opposite numbers at Bristol City, Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers on their toes.

Rotating at the top end of the pitch isn’t a new concept as stadium:mk. Last season, Benik Afobe and Will Grigg shared the leading role to great effect, with both netting more than 20 goals apiece as Dons won promotion from League 1.

“It’ll be similar now,” said Robinson. “The team is picked for Saturday, but it was hard. And it has picked for Tuesday. We believe it is right, we’ve done it before, it gives the players guidance.

“They know if they’re playing on Tuesday, but come on as a sub on Saturday, they’ve got to do a job.

“It takes the pressure off. They’ll work just as hard because if they don’t, they’ll be taken out of the rotation.”

Saturday’s opponents Bristol City then could be facing two former strikers in the form of Maynard or Emmanuel-Thomas.

Last season’s encounter saw a thrilling, end-to-end game marred by a penalty decision not awarded to Dons late in the day when Luke Ayling blocked Samir Carruthers’ shot with his hand in a game which ultimately ended in a 0-0 draw.

City cruised to the League 1 title last season, but like Dons, have struggled to find their feet in the Championship. Currently level on points with Dons, City are below them on goal-difference, making the clash at stadium:mk a real six pointer.

MK Dons were denied a penalty in this fixture last season.

MK Dons were denied a penalty in this fixture last season.

But while the Robins find themselves at the wrong end of the table, Robinson believes they are too good to go down.

He said: “Last year they were streets ahead of everyone. The players they were able to bring in in the summer, and in January, were quite remarkable. They definitely won’t go down - no chance. I’m sure Lee will do well going in there. They were never a team I expected to be in the relegation fight with us, and they shouldn’t be.

“We know how hard it will be, but I’m sure the fans will be behind us. They’re coming off the back of two wins, we’re coming off three great results too. That none of the teams who got promoted last year are in the relegation zone shows how good League 1 was last year.

“They shouldn’t be down here. You don’t win a league at a canter for no reason. It was a big surprise to me.”