This season's seeds are shooting in time for next
"When this works, it’s something really special, its unique to us and the way Russ sees us playing"
The phrase 'transitional season' has been used fairly regularly recently with regards to MK Dons, but the groundwork they're laying now is looking in good shape for next term, according to Dean Lewington.
With Russell Martin building, rebuilding and rebuilding his squad again, Dons' current 15th place spot in League One is neither bad nor especially good, but simply an improvement on the 19th place they took last time out.
Securing exciting young talent in the form of Matt O'Riley, Harry Darling, Zak Jules, Warren O'Hora and Charlie Brown in January, the remainder of this season is being used to engrain Dons' style of play into the team to ensure they can hit the ground running in August.
Lewington says the work the players are putting in at this stage of the season are already showing good signs for the future, not only for the players who are establishing themselves but also in attracting new recruits in the summer.
"Everyone is seeing the green shoots and some of the signings we’ve made have been excellent," said Lewington. "We sold some really good players in the summer and Russ has been working under some tight restraints with Covid. Under these circumstances, to make everyone excited about where we are going, it’s testament to Russ.
"I think it is in its infancy in what we are trying to build. The way we play won’t happen overnight and it takes a lot of work and coaching. We need to keep improving if we want to be better and everyone can see the nucleus of this team is here. When this works, it’s something really special, its unique to us and the way Russ sees us playing.
"The way we are playing certainly helps us sign people, and players are apologising when they beat us because they don’t know how it happens – it’s really strange.
"We are getting noticed, it helps get the right people into the club and develop young players. That wouldn’t happen under kick-and rush-football."