How Will Milton Keynes Dons Fare In League One?5 min read
Lincoln City, Milton Keynes Dons and Tranmere Rovers were all promoted from League Two last season. We look at how MK Dons did it, what they will bring to League One and how they can strengthen over the summer.
(NOTE: We purposefully decided not to include Bury out of respect for supporters who face so much uncertainty regarding the club’s future existence. We wish the Shakers every success with finding a buyer in the next three weeks.)
The 2018-19 story…
After the Karl Robinson era at MK Dons had appeared to run its course, Pete Winkelman struggled to make the right managerial appointments.
Robbie Neilson did not stay true to the tactical identity of MK Dons and although Dan Micciche tried to bring that back, he lacked a certain authority as the club suffered a second relegation in three years.
Winkelman had to get last summer’s appointment right – and indeed in Paul Tisdale, he found the perfect man for the job.
Tisdale carried himself with the class required to last 12 years at previous club Exeter City and he built a team that reflects himself; calm, controlled and disciplined.
‘Tis’ troops might have secured promotion earlier than the final day in more fortuitous circumstances but injuries to key men such as energetic midfielder Alex Gilbey stunted their progress.
Luckily, a systematic re-jig combined with a late slip from Mansfield allowed them to beat the latter to secure an instant return to League One.
Congratulations to Paul Tisdale & @MKDonsFC. PT passed on lessons when I was at Exeter. 1) Maintain good habits – analyse why you are winning or what you must improve. 2) Maintain focus on the next game – the most important. 3) Maintain perspective after victories or defeats. pic.twitter.com/JAYxx8ge6L
— Kevin Nicholson (@kevnicholson1) May 4, 2019
What they’ll bring…
MK Dons are patient with the ball and organized without it; every decision and movement is meticulously prepared.
If Milton Keynes Dons can get key defenders – Jordan Moore-Taylor, Baily Cargill, Joe Walsh and George Williams – back fit, then bring key loanee Rhys Healey back from Cardiff, we could see a return to the 3-4-3 they deployed with great success in the first half of last season.
Lee Nicholls kept 14 league clean sheets last season but he did not go without his fair share of nervy moments; someone like Nathan Baxter on loan from Chelsea might improve their distribution from deep.
Dean Lewington was captain fantastic last season but his lack of mobility was problematic in his last season at this level, so a younger understudy might not go amiss with Mitch Hancox departing.
Hiram Boateng has already joined to bring energy, dynamism and quality into their midfield, which will be helpful – especially when the influential Alex Gilbey is injured.
Milton Keynes Dons Odds:
To Be Relegated
To Be Promoted