After years of relentlessly trying, last year, MK Dons finally pushed their way into the second tier. Chairman Pete Winkleman has kept faith in manager Karl Robinson over the years, and it finally paid off with May’s automatic promotion.
Having a strong spine to the team will be a key component to the Dons as they embark of their first ever season in the Championship. Dean Lewington has been around for years now, and will be expected to make his 500th appearance this season, barring injuries. Lewington is a vocal leader from left back, something that will be crucial to keeping the team together. Altogether the Dons had one of the best rearguards last term. Jordan Spence who has previously spend time on loan at Stadium MK, signed permanently from West Ham United and nailed down a spot at right back. Kyle McFadzean may have only been playing his first season for the Buckinghamshire club, but was certainly a pivotal factor at the back. Scoring on his debut got the fans on his side, but overall is defensive performances were amongst the best seen in the League.
MK are a good footballing side, and their summer signings perfectly illustrate that. Dale Jennings must have had that ‘special something’ to have once been on the books at one of the worlds biggest clubs, Bayern Munich. After a disappointing season with Barnsley, he has been given the precious opportunity to apply his trade in the Championship once again. The performances of Carl Baker, really did catch the eye last season, following his arrival from Coventry, many fans would have thoughts about him sitting on the bench and becoming an impact sub. But that was not to be. After a string of sensational substitute appearances, Baker found himself in the starting eleven, and he didn’t disappoint, ending the campaign with 10 goals and 11 assists. The clubs 3rd highest scorer behind the departed Dele Alli and Will Grigg, who has since returned to parent club Brentford.
Talking of Brentford, they are the team Karl Robinson will hope to emulate. The bees reached the play-off semi final in the first season, this may be beyond the Dons, but as the London club showed us, anything can happen. Keeping the goals out is one method of climbing up the table but the supporters will hope the goals will be flying in at the other end. Unfortunatly, I see this as a fragile area of the squad. The newly recruited Simon Church is likely to lead the line in their opening game against Rotherham. Judging from the stats he isn’t exactly that big name striker they are looking for. The Welshman collected as many yellow cards as goals last season, but in the past Robinson has revitalised the careers of the likes of Benik Afobe and Will Grigg, so Church may be a further name to add to that ever growing list.