New boss does the talk­ing...

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP SECOND ROUND - By Tom Bas­sam

IT WAS a pass­ing of the torch in a bizarre way for MK Dons as out­go­ing care­taker boss Richie Barker gave up half-time team talk du­ties to new man Rob­bie Neil­son.

It did not prove enough to see off a Charl­ton side led for the first time by for­mer Dons man­ager Karl Robin­son, and the stale­mate means both clubs will do it all again in a re­play. Foot­ball re­ally is a strange game.

Barker picked the side and took the pre-match brief­ing in the away dress­ing room at The Val­ley to good ef­fect.

MK Dons bossed the first 45 min­utes but at half-time the care­taker gave Neil­son the chance to of­fer his thoughts and stepped aside. “It’s his gig now,” said Barker. “He took the half-time team talk. I didn’t even go in the dress­ing room at half-time.

“If you have too many voices it causes an is­sue so I said to him, ‘do you want to do it?’. He wanted to do it, which is fine, it’s his foot­ball club now.”

On the game Barker thought MK Dons should have won it, adding: “We were by far the bet­ter team in the first half. We had ar­guably the best chance in the last minute.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt we were the best team.”

For Robin­son, the ex­pe­ri­ence was an odd one which was al­most in­evitable given the cir­cum­stances.

“It was weird. I was see­ing things and I was like ‘I told you’,” he said. “When Dar­ren Pot­ter, Ed Up­son, Reevesy, Samir and Bowditch get them move­ments right and the brav­ery in the back four to play the way they do it’s hard.

“I tried some­thing first half and I knew sec­ond half how we could do some­thing to tweak things.

“We have to win games in a dif­fer­ent way some­times and I thought the men­tal­ity in the sec­ond got to grip with their ro­ta­tion was ex­cel­lent.

“We were the bet­ter team by a long way in the sec­ond half. They were miles bet­ter than us first half.

“If they would have scored sec­ond half that would have been un­fair on my play­ers.”

In the first half Robin­son’s new side showed lit­tle of the qual­ity of foot­ball Dons were ca­pable of on

BAT­TLE: Charl­ton mid­fielder Jor­dan Bo­taka bat­tles for pos­s­e­sion with MK Dons’ Ed Up­son

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