The Football League Paper - - PROFILE -

KARL Robin­son took plenty of stick last year, not least from our own colum­nist Gra­ham West­ley.

Play-off semi-fi­nal­ists in 2011 and 2012, MK Dons un­ex­pect­edly missed the cut in 2013,then spent last sea­son mis­fir­ing their way to an un­der­whelm­ing tenth in League One – their low­est fin­ish for four years.

For the first time in his bur­geon­ing ca­reer, se­ri­ous ques­tions were asked of the 34year-old’s abil­ity to deal with pres­sure and ex­pec­ta­tion.

It wasn’t al­ways pretty. He ar­gued with West­ley, lam­basted his own play­ers and, on oc­ca­sion, of­fi­cials too.

But chair­man Pete Win­kle­man didn’t lis­ten to the spec­u­la­tion. He knew how tal­ented Robin­son was. He knew that two dodgy sea­sons didn’t make him a bad man­ager, just as two good ones didn’t make him the next Alex Fer­gu­son.

He gave his young man­ager time to learn the lessons from those tough times and now we are see­ing why. Ev­ery­thing that made the Dons vul­ner­a­ble be­fore – their soft un­der­belly, their ex­ces­sive fo­cus on the aes­thetic – has been rec­ti­fied by Robin­son.

Now they are a tough, lean, at­tack­ing force who fi­nally look ready to launch an as­sault on the top two.

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