Sean O’Hanlon will return to stadiummk for the first time since he left MK Dons in 2011.
The Liverpudlian defender was released from the Dons following their play-off defeat to Peterborough United in Karl Robinson’s first season at the helm. To this day the Dons boss says it is the hardest decision he has had to make in his managerial career.
O’Hanlon, now in the Carlisle United ranks, joined the Dons in 2006 and quickly established himself as a key player for the side and was a firm favourite with the fans. In 2007/08 he scored at Wembley to help the Club to its first piece of silverware, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s game, which kicks off at 7.45pm, Robinson said: “He’s a great fella and probably the hardest decision of my managerial career was releasing him on a free transfer, the day after the play-off defeat to Peterborough United.
“He gave his heart and soul to the Football Club but we were moving onto other things and, financially, we couldn’t afford to give him a new deal. I’ll never forget coming in that day and having to do that. It’s still something that hurts me because he’s a good man and I would go as far to say he’s the best centre-half the Club’s ever had.
“We paid quite a bit of money for him and at that time I think he was one of our biggest signings. He did really well that year under Martin Allen and then he found a mate called Danny Swailes and if you asked any MK Dons fan to write down a back four them two would be at the heart of it. Shaun Williams would probably push for a place now.
“He scored one of the most iconic goals in the Club’s history, off his nose, his stomach and his knee into the goal at Wembley. One thing I’ll know about Sean, when the ball is in the air and he’s made a decision to go up and get it, everything’s coming with it and you’re likely to get knocked back a long way.”