Karl Robinson has warned his players to up their game or face being knocked out of the FA Cup.
The Dons play host to Sheffield Wednesday tonight in a replay of the FA Cup third round with Budweiser. In the original fixture at Hillsborough it was Robinson’s men who looked the more impressive and arguably could have booked their place in the fourth round had Stephen Bywater not been in good form between the sticks.
However, since that meeting Wednesday’s form has picked up, most notably on Saturday when they picked up three points from the KC Stadium with a surprise 3-1 win over Hull City.
Robinson has told his Dons players, who were bitterly disappointing to drop two points at home to Bury at the weekend, that their performance against the Championship Owls needs to be even better than it was in Sheffield ten days ago.
Speaking ahead of the game Robinson said: “People who were at the game at Hillsborough will expect us to win because we did well at their place but that’s not the case.
“They come here now on the back on a very good win at Hull and they will be looking to build on that. We will have to work harder and play better than we did at Hillsborough to get a result from the game, if we don’t we won’t win the game.”
The replay will offer Robinson an opportunity to re-introduce the likes of Gary MacKenzie and Jon Otsemobor, who have been out of action due to injury. MacKenzie underwent hip surgery which ruled him out for three months, but he returned on New Year’s Day against Notts County and also came off the bench at Hillsborough.
The Scottish defender could be handed a starting berth while Otsemobor will also hope to be in the starting XI against his old side after recovering from a groin problem that kept him out for over a month.
Robinson added: “I am going to make a few changes because we have one or two players who are back to fitness and need the games. Gary MacKenzie and Jon Otsemobor are both back fit so it will give a chance to put Shaun Williams back in midfield, especially as Ryan Harley is struggling with his groin at the moment.”
If the Dons manage to upset the odds this evening and set up a meeting with either Queens Park Rangers or West Bromwich Albion it will be the first time the Club have reached the fourth round. That in itself is an added incentive for the Dons boss.
“We are all proud if we can achieve a slice of history that has never been achieved before and it’s nice that you are able to put your name to something than no one else at this Club has done.”