Dons boss Karl Robinson believes his players have a point to prove when they entertain AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.
The Dons were on cloud nine at the start of the week having beaten QPR in the FA Cup to reach the fifth round, however, they quickly returned to earth with a bump when they were beaten 2-1 by Yeovil in
Robinson’s men now have a huge task on their hands as they look to take three points from a Bournemouth side who have been rejuvenated by the return of manager Eddie Howe.
Howe guided the Cherries to a run of 15-games without defeat in the League – which was ended by Walsall two weeks ago – which sparked their climb into the play-off positions. They have subsequently won their last two game and six points clear of tenth-placed Dons.
“They bought very well; Eddie has made some good signings since returning to Bournemouth. This is going to be a good game and I can’t wait for it. The players feel they have a point to prove because there were a few things that weren’t good enough on Tuesday night and I think over the course of 90 minutes tomorrow we will see a big response.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge. I enjoy playing against Bournemouth, I like playing there and they are a good football club.
“If we don’t win on Saturday we will find ourselves something like 16 points adrift from second-place. It would be tough. There is no coincidence that when we have had a fully-fit side this year we had our best run.”
The game comes on the back of the closure of the January transfer window. In that time Robinson acquired the services of Izale McLeod and completed the loan signings of Ryan Harley, Zeli Ismail, Chris Lines and Patrick Bamford.
Despite the good work in the window though, Robinson was left frustrated and may be inclined to dip into the loan market when the window opens late next week.
“We have teams around us spending a lot of money on players and on transfers. I understood where we were at when I signed up for this job, and I have supported the Chairman on his project.
“The money from The FA Cup has gone to fill other voids which we constantly talk about, it’s hard but I understand the Chairman’s way of running it and I respect that.
“The hardest thing for me is losing Luke Chadwick and Stephen Gleeson, along with the likes of Daniel Powell and Gary MacKenzie for spells of the season, has meant I have had to use my money on replacements in Ryan Harley and Chris Lines, which would have, ideally, been money spent strengthen other areas to get us out of this League. Rather than strengthen, this window has been about replacements
and filling voids.
“I know where we are still weak and I know where I want to improve, but we have kept within budget and we’ve been working incredibly hard. I didn’t leave this stadium until gone midnight and I was exhausted. It was a long old day, I felt as though I had lost and I don’t like losing.”