Karl Robinson says he will be going up against two of the best managers in the division over the next ten days.
Both the Latics and County finished in the bottom half of League 1 last season but have enjoyed excellent starts to the 2014/15 campaign, and Dons boss Robinson was keen to praise his opposite numbers for their achievements so far this year.
“I’m probably going up against the best managers in the league this weekend and the weekend after, in terms of what they’ve done with the resources they’ve had,” Robinson told the media.
“Lee and Shaun have produced some of the biggest turnarounds that we’ve seen in League 1, in a long time. Up until now, Lee and Shaun have been the best in the division and that’s not taking anything away from anyone else.
“Considering their teams were fighting relegation last season and now they’re fighting for the play-offs – you’ve got to take your hat off to them. I certainly do and they both deserve the plaudits that will no doubt come their way.”
Although complimentary of the pair, Robinson is still intent on taking three points from both of them as he and his side look to secure, if not improve on, their current position of third-place in the table heading into the New Year.
“There is an eight point gap between us and sixth at the moment and we’ve very rarely seen that, so it’s a remarkable achievement from the players. It’s going to be a big next two games, as we could either completely push teams away from us or drag them closer to us.
“However, everyone keeps talking about what we need to do to catch Swindon and Bristol and as long as we keep focusing on the teams above us, what happens below us will take care of itself.”
After their festive fixtures with both Oldham and Notts County, the Dons will have faced all-but one of the teams alongside them in the top eight, in the space of just two months – a stretch which Robinson believes is ‘as hard as it gets’.
“When we’ve come through this month we’d have played nearly everybody in the top eight in not much more than two months and in last four games we’d have played Sheffield United, who were just below us, Preston, who are now just below us, and Oldham and Notts County who are sixth and seventh.
“It doesn’t get much harder, but we believe in each other and collectively we’re very strong. I’d go on record to say this is the strongest group I’ve had, certainly the strongest 1-18.
“That goal at Preston was the first we’d conceded on the road in the league since Bristol City and that is a tremendous testament to the team. We’ve also broken a club record in League 1 for going 10 unbeaten - it just shows how well everyone is doing at the moment.
“We can’t stop, though, its turn the screw time. People who know me, know that I won’t accept where we are, I want to go on and on and I think it’s important we keep having a right good go.”
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