While last season was a good one for MK Dons, you can’t help but think they should have made more of what has been their best side in years. Having come unstruck against Wycombe Wanderers in the play-off semi-finals, who eventually lost to Sunderland at Wembley, it’s still unsure if the core of this Dons side will be carved away after a third-place finish in League One, a stark contrast from coming 13th in 2020-21.
Liam Manning is clearly building something special but made it known before the play-offs that he couldn’t target any specific players at that point in the season, saying: “There is a lot of work going on, recruitment-wise, but until it’s clear where we’re at, we cannot really move on anything,”
Now the Dons know where they stand, and while still bitterly disappointed, they’ll be ready to pursue a promotion place once again with a better chance of going up. Click to see the predictz English Football League 1 predictions, which MK Dons will likely top each week. But for that added bit of quality in their side, read on as we look at three players they could sign to make the Championship next season.
With just a few weeks left on his contract, Dons would do well to secure the services of Ethan Robson on a permanent basis after the full-back spent the first half of last season on loan in Buckinghamshire. The 25-year-old, currently still contracted to Blackpool, is unlikely to resign at Bloomfield Road, and given the club’s financial constraints, it could provide the perfect opportunity for Manning to snap up a real bargain.
Neil Critchley recalled Robson for the second half of the season and now given his experience, he looks ready to be a regular if he signs for the Dons, with Manning clearly rating him highly.
“(Ethan) did really well, and is a really good guy, he’s a terrific character,” he said. “I know some of the guys have stayed in regular touch with him as well.”
One of the top scorers in League Two last season, Harry McKirdy looks ready to make the step up a division after Swindon Town failed to gain promoted from the fourth tier. Mckirdy, who scored 25 goals as his side were knocked out in the play-off semi-finals by Port Vale, would add that extra goalscoring threat to Mannings attack, and could form a deadly duo with star striker Scott Twine, who managed 22 goals himself last season in League One — that is if West Bromwich Albion don’t continue their pursuit of the 22-year-old.
With more uncertainty over Harry Darling’s future since his remarkable rise through to the first team, Dons would be wise to invest in a new defender, and if they can earn a significant fee from Chelsea, who want to take Darling to west London, then there will be plenty of options available. The most concrete so far looks to come in the form of West Ham United’s Aji Alese, with the versatile full-back struggling for gametime at the London Stadium. Capable of filling in at centre half as well as deployed as a wing back, the 21-year-old has great athleticism for someone that is six feet four inches tall, and could be a great component in Manning new look back line.