Karl Robinson wants his players to ‘put on a performance’ for the supporters in their final game of the season away at Stevenage on Saturday.
Having missed out on the play-offs last Saturday, the Dons go into this weekend’s match against the Boro, who they have beaten only once in four previous meetings, without too much to play for.
However, Robinson is still looking for his side to play to their usual standards as they search out the perfect end to what has been a historic campaign.
The 32-year-old manager told MK Dons Player: “I believe we’re taking over 700 fans (to Stevenage) so we’ve got a duty of care to perform to the best of our ability and hopefully it’ll help make a party atmosphere.
“I’ve never in my managerial career had a game like this where there’s not too much to play for in terms of League position but we do have something to play for – the fans, the badge, the shirt. We’ve got a duty of care to the people that are paying to watch us play and the standards we’ve set over the last three years have got to be adhered too.
“My mind’s not made up on some people and if they find themselves falling short they won’t be here next year. If you want to be here you need to conduct yourself like a professional all the time and I’m looking forward to seeing the players that will and the players that won’t because it’ll only cement in my mind whose right for this Football Club.
“Graham Westley has done a wonderful job at Stevenage and they’re going to be a strong opponent. He’s come back under difficult circumstances and they will be a team that will be competitive again next year. There always going to have strengths and weaknesses but we’ve got to go there and ‘man-up’ and play our football and enjoy it.
“I’ve also got an apology to make because after the sacking of Gary Smith, whose a good friend of mine, I used the word ‘idiots’ towards the (Stevenage) board and it’s not acceptable by me, as a manager, to say them sort of things.
“I hope the board will accept my apology because it was one said in frustration and anger and it’s a learning curve for me as well. The people of Milton Keynes know I’m a very passionate man, which is one of my strengths but also a weakness of mine. I’ve got an apology to make to them and hopefully the Chairman and the rest of the board can accept that.”
With little more than pride riding on the game this weekend, Robinson is expected to ring changes to the side that lost to Scunthorpe United last Saturday and the Liverpudlian manager hinted that several youngsters could get a run-out in what he hopes will be a celebratory afternoon at Lamex Stadium.
“We’ve got to balance how many young players we bring in because you’ve also got players that want to play and need to play. It’s important we put out a team that wants to win the game, first and foremost. Then, if you can blood the youngsters in amongst that, which I’m known for, we’ll look to do so.
“It’ll be a good afternoon and hopefully we’ll have three or four youngsters on the bench, maybe one of them starting, and if all goes well then we’ll look to get them on the pitch to get some valuable first team experience away at Stevenage.
“Dean Lewington and David Martin won’t play but the rest of them are almost there and we’ll have Dele, Brendan and Giorgio join the group. We’re looking forward to what will hopefully be a celebration and a thank you at the end of the game. We’ll say our goodbyes to the fans because the next time we’ll see them will be in a new term, which is quite a sad thing to think about.”