Karl Robinson wants his players to step up to the challenge of facing Coventry City when they visit stadiummk this afternoon.
Mark Robins’ side come into the game on red-hot form having avoided defeat in their last seven outings, a run which has seen them climb into 11th place in League 1, only five points behind the Dons.
Robinson’s men, though, have only lost two at home all season and they will be eager to keep that impressive stat in place by adding three points to their tally as they look to end the calendar year on a high note.
Speaking to MK Dons Player, Robinson said: “I want them to work had in this game but also enjoy it. I want them to stick together because when we do that we’re a very strong group and we believe in each other.
“We’re not going to hide from the fact that our performance against Walsall was unacceptable and we haven’t brushed it under the carpet instead we’ll use it as a motivational tool. What happened Wednesday won’t happen again.
“But, we’re looking forward to the challenge that Coventry are going to give us. It’s going to be great with over 10,000 people here and everybody knows what we’re like in front of big crowds – we tend to turn it on a bit more.
“They obviously have (David) McGoldrick out which will be a big loss to them having scored the amount of goals that he’s scored so that’s one bonus for us, but they’ve got players that can really hurt you all over the pitch.
“We’re without Patrick (Bamford), Luke (Chadwick), Gary (MacKenzie), Stephen (Gleeson) and Jon (Otsemobor). Losing them four would be huge for any Football Club and especially us because of the consistency of their performances so the enormity of the challenge is once again there for all to see but it’s a challenge that we’ve got to accept and embrace and hopefully we’ll get a result that our performance will deserve.”
The West Midlands outfit’s current standing is a stark contrast to the situation the Club were in the last time the two teams met, with the Sky Blues having climbed from the relegation places to within touching distance of a play-off.
And Robinson, who saw his team held to a 1-1 draw at the Ricoh Arena in early October, praised his League 1 counterparts for their rapid climb but remains confident his team can come out on top in what is expected to be a close battle at MK1.
“I said after the game at the Ricoh earlier in the year that they were a strong team. Mark Robins has steered them in the right direction and they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with both this season and next season if they’re still here. I think Mark has done one of the best jobs at Coventry since he’s been there.
“But still, I thought we were very good against them that night and I thought a draw was an unfair result. I think if you asked them they’d say we were one of the best teams they’ve played so they’ll come here knowing how good we can be.
“Obviously we’re both a little disjointed and it’s all going to be about who has got the strongest squad to cope with losing key players and our squad is definitely determined to come out on top.
“We’re going to need the fans on Saturday because we are missing people and we are coming off the back of a bad result. It’s partly our job to motivate the fans but they also need to motivate us and hopefully if that comes together at the weekend we’ll be too hot to handle.”