Fan Focus: Let's Get It Don

Tom Dulat

MK Dons come to town tonight, and ahead of the game we spoke to journalist Dan Palmer who covers the team daily for MKweb.co.uk.

So how's this season going so far for MK Dons?

Dan Palmer: A decent start - Dons remain unbeaten after their first four League One matches although three of these have been draws. There have been some defensive errors which have turned three points into one on a couple of occasions, but it is still early days and not being beaten is a nice feather to have in the cap.

What's going to be the aim for the Dons this season?

DP: I think a play-off spot will be a realistic ambition. Last season the aim was very much automatic promotion, but they came up short and the division looks like a much tougher prospect this time around.

Karl Robinson continues to win plaudits from neutrals, what's been the key to his success so far?

DP: Much of the plaudits comes from his passion for passing football. He will never deviate from this - he likes it on the ground and when it clicks into gear at its free-flowing best, it is an absolute pleasure to watch. He plays the game in the right way and people respect that.

We also met in the League Cup last season. How much have, if at all, the club progressed since then?

DP: The league season after that cup tie was a disappointment, with the club failing to even make the play-offs when automatic promotion was a stated goal. There is a greater focus on youth this season, which has very much been seen in the transfer policy. Older heads like Gary MacKenzie and Ryan Lowe have left and younger talent will be given a chance to shine. Whether this has the desired impact remains to be seen.

Any new signings for yous side we should be fearful of or have impressed you in the early part of the season?

DP: Jason Banton has joined on-loan from Crystal Palace and has a couple of goals to his name already, including an absolute belter at Crystal Palace. Patrick Bamford and Samir Carruthers (on loan from Chelsea and Aston Villa respectively) are also exciting talents.

What do you make of what's going on at Sunderland at the moment, and Paolo Di Canio as manager?

DP: I was pleased to see Di Canio given a chance as all too often managers from lower leagues are overlooked. He's obviously someone the media will be very interested in so it will be important to try and cool that side of things and just concentrate on the football. If he can avoid various scandals then there's no reason why you can't have a good season.

Anyone form our side you're concerned will give the Dons some worries?

DP: There's nobody in particular - when you come up against a top flight outfit you know that whoever plays is going to be a tough opponent.

How do you see the game going?

DP: Dons will come out and have a go, so it should be an entertaining contest. Having won at Premier League grounds (Norwich and QPR) in recent seasons, I don't expect to see any parking of the bus. You'd expect Sunderland to have too much quality, but Dons will create chances so for them it will just be a case of taking them.

Finally, what's your prediction for tonight's game?

DP: Sunderland to edge it 2-1.

You can read Dan's in depth articles  as well as the latest news on MK Dons over at MKweb.co.uk, including reaction from tonight's match.

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