Written by Connor Lawson
MK Dons, the club loathed by most and loved by few, suffered their second relegation in their mere twelve years of existence last season. Karl Robinson and his players had a pretty dismal time in the second tier of English football, eventually finishing 23rd in the league, resulting in relegation to League One.
credit Glenn Salt
As a result of their recent relegation, the men from MK1 are favourites for promotion back to the Championship. So, what chance do MK Dons have of promotion this season? The answer to that rests on many different factors, not least recruiting quality players for the upcoming season, especially after nine were lost during the summer.
So far, Karl Robinson has signed six players to improve his side. Paul Downing, George Williams, Ed Upson, another George Williams, Chuks Aneke and Lee Nicholls have all been introduced to a new-look MK Dons side. It is hard to evaluate these players having only seen some of them in pre-season friendlies, but many already have opinions on Robinson’s signings. Personally, having seen Paul Downing play, he doesn’t look like a very good player who can match the quality that MK Dons need. He also comes with some bad reviews from fans of his previous club, Walsall. Many of their fans actually thanked MK Dons for taking him. George Williams, the attacking midfielder, has already played at Stadium:MK and Dons fans were delighted with this signing, despite it only being a loan. Ed Upson has scored some crackers in pre-season and he has made a good first impression. Chuks Aneke is currently injured, and will be for another few months, so his impact will be seen later than the rest. I think Karl Robinson has introduced some good signings, but more needs to be done as the squad is looking rather small so close to the start of the season.
MK Dons are used to League One, the coming season will be their tenth in the league which has seen a variety of finishes. The Dons have qualified for the play-offs three times in League One, yet have never been promoted this way. Their average finish in League One is tenth. However, unlike other seasons, expectation is rather high for the coming season. Fans want to see MK Dons mount a serious challenge for promotion and they don’t see why they can’t as long as the right players a brought in. This season is also quite different compared to others in League One. It presents the Dons with games against local teams like Northampton, Coventry, Oxford and Peterborough, whilst also giving them two league fixtures against bitter rivals AFC Wimbledon for the first time ever. MK Dons fans will be looking forward to all of those games, and should take a good away following to those more local games. Those games have the potential to produce large implications for the manager and perhaps the chairman. Fans could easily become disgruntled if we lose vital games against some of our rivals.
Whilst MK Dons will want to go straight back up, it may not be the best thing if this is what does happen. Evidently, they weren’t ready for the Championship in their first ever season in the league, and they still have a lot to learn. Their promotion in the 14/15 season was, without doubt, a fantastic achievement and they put on some impressive displays on their way to the runners-up position in League One, but they got a slice of luck on the last day, when Preston lost to Colchester. Had they not had that luck, it would have been play-offs and, most likely, another campaign without promotion. Also, the squad in 14/15 boasted the likes of Dele Alli, Benik Afobe, Will Grigg and Lewis Baker, all of whom have gone on to bigger and better things. It is unlikely that the Dons will have a squad which matches the strength of the one in 14/15 for a long while, and the current one is a mile off the quality of the promotion winning team just a couple of seasons back.
credit Liam Daly
I think that it will be very hard for MK Dons to go straight back up. Play-offs are a possibility, but other teams in League One have recruited much better players during summer, making it all the more difficult. In terms of League One as a whole, I am unsure as to who will go up and who will go down. It’s a real mixed bag this season and it should make for exciting viewing. In terms of MK Dons, I am going to go for a finish anywhere between 4th and 10th. I am looking forward to the start of the season on Saturday, as I am sure every football fan is. It’s going to be a very interesting season.
MK Dons fans, are you optimistic? Does Karl Robinson still need to make additions? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Liam Daly