Still trying to recreate the Robbo-factor ahead of his return
He is still no stranger to Stadium MK, but Karl Robinson returns this Saturday eager to put one over on the club that sacked him three years ago.
After spending six-and-a-half years in charge of MK Dons, Robinson departed in 2016, but remains a familiar face, despite taking charge of fellow League One side Oxford United - this weekend’s visitors.
Still popular amongst the supporters, Robinson still lives in the area and is often seen at home games when the U’s aren’t playing.
The mark Robinson left on Dons, and the scene he built during his lengthy tenure, is something the club has been chasing to replace ever since he left in October 2016.
Playing a style of football that earned him plaudits up and down the divisions, Robinson also helped develop Dele Alli into a multi-million-pound commodity, brought George Baldock through the ranks and, crucially, took Dons to the Championship, even if it was just for one season.
Since he left, Dons have been desperate for a return to a distinctive style. With the groundwork seemingly ripped up and mulched by his replacement Robbie Neilson, Dons have lacked a clear direction on the pitch.
Russell Martin recently admitted Robinson’s style of football is something he is chasing as a manager, saying: “Under Karl, they had a great style of football and that’s what they became known for. There is loads of work to do, but it’s a style of football we want to stick to.”
It’s easier said than done, though.
For Martin, six games rather than six years into his MK Dons tenure, he is tasked with trying to replicate the success of the machine Robinson developed. But the hurdle he will have to face next is defeating the man who created it.