Karl Robinson believes the weekend’s double-header pre-season friendlies against local opposition were a great opportunity to showcase MK Dons.
The Dons split their first team into two squads – one travelled to Newport Pagnell where they were 4-0 victors while another beat Leighton Town 4-2 – and the youth team were called upon in the late stages of both matches.
Robinson was pleased to see his side come through their fifth game in a week with their unbeaten pre-season record intact while the improvements in their fitness and patterns of play were also evident.
The highlight of the two matches though for the Dons boss was seeing the young players introduced and continuing the free-flowing, passing style of the first team.
Speaking after the games Robinson said: “We’re trying to spread the word of MK Dons and I think what you have seen is a Club day. We have gone to Newport Pagnell and come here to Leighton Buzzard and I think the most important thing is you have seen the whole spectrum of the Football Club from the older players right through to the younger players and you couldn’t see a difference – they all play in exactly the same way.
“We’ve been building this for a long time to make sure the future is in good hands and I think through Mike Dove, Dan Micciche and the rest of the staff in the academy, plus the input of the first team staff, we have been able to ensure the philosophy is the same throughout the Club. We still have many years of the development programme but it was good for all to see, it shows the fans that we have some really good young players, as well as very talented first team players.”
The fixture against Newport Pagnell has been a regular over the years while a strong relationship has grown between the Dons and Leighton Town in recent seasons.
Robinson added: “We helped put a 1000 people on the gate at Leighton Town and 1000 on the gate at Newport Pagnell as well and it’s great for the local community if we can help out.
“This was still an important pre-season warm-up but we played Birmingham on Wednesday, which was a high intensity match, and it was important we split the teams.
“We have a small, young squad but I think you can see the energy and quality in it. A lot of times senior players can come to these kind of games and not put a shift in, but none of our senior players have done that, everyone put a shift in.”
At Leighton Town supporters were able to get their first look at Robinson’s first permanent signing of the summer Ben Reeves. Reeves partnered Stephen Gleeson in the centre of midfield and Robinson knows more will come from the former Southampton man.
“Reeves is a very talented young player, he still has a lot of development in him and we need to get him to full fitness. He hasn’t taken part in a training session yet so to come through a game is a great effort from him but he has a lot of hard work to do in the next four weeks. We will get him right though, I believe the medical team and fitness team are as good as any.
“He played in the Premier League at left-back for Southampton but he also played in midfield, as the number ten and the number nine for Southend. He is a utility player – I like that and when you are carrying a small squad it is important that you have that.”