How Karl Robinson's side are shaping up for the new season
The 2013-14 campaign saw MK Dons miss out on the play-offs after a disappointing second half of the season when they were badly hit by injuries and the loss of striker Patrick Bamford at the end of his loan spell.
Many expected Karl Robinson's men to make the top six at the after they made some astute signings including Ben Reeves, from Southampton, and brought back Patrick Bamford on loan from Chelsea for a second spell.
The Dons began well and were unbeaten in their first eight League One matches prior to a defeat in late September against local rivals Peterborough. However, it was consistency that Milton Keynes really lacked throughout the season and they ended up finishing 10th– 14 points shy of the final play-off position. The loss of Bamford at the end of his loan spell in January was also crucial.
THE MANAGER – KARL ROBINSON
When he was appointed Dons' boss in 2010, Robinson – aged 29 – became the youngest manager in the Football League. During his playing career Robinson failed to break through the ranks at Everton, Swindon Town and Blackpool and instead dropped into non-league to represent Bamber Bridge, Marine and Prescott Cables amongst others before finishing his playing days at Warrington Town in 2007.
He moved into coaching and spent time with Liverpool and Blackburn before taking over the managerial reigns at MK Dons in 2010 after Paul Ince's departure. He has been with the club ever since despite being linked with numerous other clubs including Blackpool and Sheffield United.
VISITING THE GROUND?
A 30,000 all-seater stadium, stadium:mk has been the home of MK Dons since 2007. It was one of the stadiums that formed part of England’s failed World Cup 2018 bid. Once again, Reds supporters will be housed in the North Stand, which can hold over 1,000 fans, when we head there on August 30.
SUMMER BUSINESS SO FAR
Stephen Gleeson has left MK Dons following the expiry of his contract to join Birmingham City. The 25-year-old moves to the Championship after being a regular for Robinson’s team.
However, fellow midfielder Mark Randall has signed a new deal with the club. Alan Smith has moved to Notts County on a free transfer whilst Luke Chadwick has transferred to League Two new boys Cambridge United. Anthony Kay has signed a new one-year-deal but Izale McLeod has been released. Danny Green has arrived from Charlton Athletic and last week MK signed Kyle McFadzean from Crawley on a two-year deal with a further year’s option.
THEY PLAYED FOR BOTH
Former Crawley fans' favourite Charlie MacDonald spent a season at stadium:mk after leaving Brentford and made over 50 appearances for the Dons.
Charlie played a crucial role in our promotion from the Dr Martens League in 2004. Both Kieran Murphy and Mustapha Carayol spent time on loan at the Checkatrade.com Stadium back in 2007, whilst former Reds boss Richie Barker took on the role as Head of Coaching at the Dons in the summer following a stint as assistant manager there towards the end of last season.
Crawley have a decent record against Milton Keynes Dons having played them in four competitive fixtures.
The first meeting at the Checkatrade Stadium in 2012 saw Billy Clarke's brace seal a 2-0 home win. In the away match, 0-0 was the final score but it wasn't a bore draw with the Dons' Ryan Lowe netting a hat-trick of offside goals.
The following season saw the two sides win a game each. MK ran out 2-0 winners on Boxing Day at the Checkatrade.com Stadium thanks to strikes from Gleeson and Bamford, but late in the season Crawley won 2-0 at MK after Andy Drury and Mike Jones both netted in the first half.
WHAT THE BOOKIES THINK
MK Dons are 9/2 with Sky Bet to win promotion from League One in 2014-15