Winkelman does not want to be in League 2 for much longer

Pete Winkelman
Pete Winkelman

Pete Winkelman is satisfied with MK Dons’ performance in League 2 this season,but admitted he does not want to remain in the division for much longer.

After suffering two relegations in three seasons, dropping from the Championship to the fourth tier, Dons face a winner-takes-all clash at Stadium MK this Saturday to return to League 1 at the first time of asking when they play Mansfield Town.

But with the biggest stadium in the division and a dream of top flight football still looming large, Winkelman said Dons cannot afford to spent too much longer in League 2.

“We’re a big club in the lower leagues, so we have no excuse not to be successful,” he said.

“We’re Milton Keynes, and we should not be in League 2.

“That pressure falls on me, the manager and the players, and rightly it’s there. We have to achieve.

“I’m already happy with this season, we’re going back in the right direction. But I wouldn’t be happy with too many more seasons in League 2.”

“If you’d offered me to be in with a shout of automatic promotion on the final day, or at the least a spot in the play-offs, that’s a good season.

“I’m still absolutely gutted we find ourselves in this position and I want to put that right. Winning on Saturday is one step towards that.

“I look jealously at Luton, who are almost in the Championship, and that’s where it starts. You can dream of the promised land. That’s what football is about – winning and being successful.”

After three miserable seasons at Stadium MK, Dons are on the brink of automatic promotion, knowing a win over the Stags on Saturday will see them return to League 1 at the first time of asking.

But the stakes are equally as high for Mansfield, who sit third in the table, above Dons on goal difference, heading into the final day of the season.

“It’s just such an incredible situation that is occurring,” said the chairman. “I can only think of two or three occasions where so much is riding on the last day of the season.

“But it’s all in our hands. If we lose on Saturday, we’re in the play-offs. What is at stake makes it a very special game.

“When you think about football dreams, it has to be getting promoted at home on the last day of the season has to be right up there.

“I remember, many years ago, when we were saved on the last day of the season and that was one of the most euphoric moments I’ve had.

“I do think it is a really significant event, it’s a piece of history for Milton Keynes.”