mkdons.com details the storylines to follow heading into Saturday’s clash at Sheffield United...
With the off-the-field distraction of the vacant managerial position, it’s important the Dons remain focused on this weekend’s game, where they’ll be looking to maintain their strong away form.
The men from MK1 are currently one point above the bottom three so will want to create some breathing room heading into next week’s break from league action due to the Emirates FA Cup.
A victory would also provide a much-needed lift after recent results and raise the morale of the team ahead of the new manager’s arrival, should that occur before the next league outing.
Richie takes the reins
Head of coaching Richie Barker will take temporary charge of the team for this Saturday’s match at Sheffield United, in the city where he grew up as a youngster.
The former Sheffield Wednesday trainee is no stranger to management having previously taken charge of Bury, Crawley Town and Portsmouth.
He won 54 matches across the three spells and with the Shakers he earned promotion from Sky Bet League Two while acting as caretaker boss.
Winkelman feels the Dons are in safe hands this weekend. He told MK Dons PlayerHD: “I’ve been very impressed with Richie and the way he’s stepped up.
“He knows someone new might well come in and want their own backroom team. You’d forgive him for wanting to duck down at the earliest opportunity but, no, he’s stood up.
“He knows football inside out and I’m confident he’ll make sure the team is fully prepared.”
Double injury boost?
George Baldock returned to full training earlier this week and could be available to make a return this weekend at Bramall Lane, while Kieran Agard is also getting close following a short spell out with a knee injury.
Both players will provide a boost to a team – Baldock, defensively, as the Dons look to end a run of four games without a clean sheet, and Agard in an attacking sense, after the men from MK1 were shut out against Southend last weekend.
Chuks Aneke (knee) and Scott Wootton (knee) won’t be available but the former is making good progress.