MK Dons manager Karl Robinson is hoping the disappointment of last season will help motivate his side heading into the 2013/14 campaign.
Last year, the Dons missed out on the play-offs for the first time in three seasons after they finished ninth in League 1, their lowest League position under the Liverpudlian boss.
At the moment, Robinson’s squad is relatively unchanged from last season with Patrick Bamford, the side’s only signing so far this summer, having featured 14 times for the side in 2012/13. The only real difference in the team this time around is the injection of youth, with 9 current or former academy starlets amongst the group which travelled to Dublin for a fitness camp last week.
And Robinson, whose side play their first friendlies on home soil tomorrow afternoon, is hoping his exciting youth prospects can help the senior side get over the hangover of missing out last season.
Speaking to mkdons.com, he said: “There is a hangover from last year but only because we care. I think if you were coming back thinking you could forget about last year it would be a little bit of a disappointment to who we are as people, because we didn’t achieve what we wanted to.
“I’m not going to apologise for being hurt by what happened last year because it’s a motivation heading into this year. Somebody said you’ve got to close the door on last year but I want to leave it open. I want to be able to see through the door and see the anxiety and depression we all suffered having let each other down.
“This season is going to be one of the hardest that I’ve ever had at this Football Club but I’m looking forward to it. We all feel fresh and we all feel in a better frame of mind.
“I’ve been really excited with the young players. Everyone knows the passion I have for those that we’re bringing through. Some of these have been playing and training for the first team since the age of 16, some at 15. You can see the two year’s progression in them and they’re starting to impact games.
“(Against Birmingham City) Dele Alli ran the game for large parts at left wing and he’s never played there before. Brendan came on and did well, Harry did well (against UCD) too and Giorgio started a game at number 10. The young players did a wonderful job and it’s all about how hard they have worked because if you work hard good things tend to happen.”