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Fan Focus: The Inside Scoop On MK Dons

Every week we speak to a fan, blogger, journalist or podcaster from the opposing side to get their take on the game. For tonight’s game with MK Dons, we speak to @MKDonsRadioShow

Pete Norton - Getty Images

Hi, welcome to Fan Focus. We'll start by hopping in the time machine... Are MK Dons now very much a club in their own right?

MK Dons Radio Show: Definitely. We're still growing every year, picking up new fans all the time. We have the advantage of the (almost finished) fantastic stadium and the added bonus of some very attractive football. Many of us have been following Dons since day one but we're still selling new season tickets even now a good few games into the season. It's a great mix of old and new and we are now a real 'community' of fans. That's what's developed over the last seven or eight years. A unique bunch of people all coming together for the same thing. It's quite difficult to explain because no other football club has a fanbase like ours.

Some football fans don't seem particularly fond of how MK Dons came to be. What would you (or do you) say to folks like that?

MKDRS: Perfectly understandable considering the circumstances surrounding how MK Dons came about. One thing I always like to make clear to people is that Dons fans do not condone what happened, nor would they ever say it was right. However, it did happen and we are here.
We're all used to the usual questions and abuse and these days it's water off a duck's back. I always see it as an opportunity to inform rather than argue. There are many so called 'facts' about MK Dons that are wrong that people take as gospel so we will generally educate rather than aggravate.

As Noel Gallagher once said, you can't go round knocking on everyone's doors telling them that something said is a lie so we're doing it one person at a time.

We do like to point out though that WE didn't personally bring Wimbledon here, we just go and watch the football.

Back to the present day though. Tell us about Karl Robinson and how he likes to set his team up?

MKDRS: It's based on "if you've got the ball the opposition can't score" and works well but we do lack the goals based on the amount of possession we have.

We keep hold of the ball a lot. It's not unusual for the opposing team to not get a touch for a good two or three minutes whilst we pass it around them.

We'll go backwards rather than hoof a percentage ball forwards to ensure we retain possession. It drives a lot of our fans mad, but as the man himself will tell you, 67% of Barcelona's passes go backwards. I might have made that 67% figure up as I can't be arsed to look it up but the point is that we pretty much have the same figure and I believe Barcelona are quite good.

It's all about keeping the ball, playing it on the floor and building up to a goal. We have some very good players, particularly in the midfield. Sadly, in this league it's often pointless as teams will will play us and just stick ten men behind the ball, but when we get it right, it really can be breathtaking. We tend to play better against teams above us. QPR last season for instance, hammering Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road and of course the reason we are playing Sunderland, dismantling Blackburn Rovers a few weeks ago.

There's the familiar names of Alan Smith and Jimmy Bullard in your side I see. How are they fitting in, and do they still have the legs?

MKDRS: Alan Smith hasn't changed a bit and frightens the shit out of the opposition when he's on the pitch. And how Jimmy Bullard is still able to run at all is a mystery. To be honest, it's still too early to pass judgment on Bullard as we've not seen a lot of him, but Alan Smith is definitely a Dons man now and fits in wherever he's needed. Mainly as (I hate this phrase) an impact player coming on as a sub. I imagine that playing against us and trying to stop us scoring is hard enough, but then you see Alan Smith come on and it's got to be soul destroying.

Who should Sunderland fans see as the dangermen for this game?

MKDRS: Bowditch, Potter, Gleeson, Powell, MacDonald, Chadwick, Lowe for a start. We're not a team that you would look at and think "Ooh, they've got whoever, we need to watch him" as it's more of a team effort. Saying that, if Powelly is playing and on form your full backs are in for bit of fun on Tuesday.

He's getting a lot of attention at the moment and is one of the many Academy lads at MK Dons to come through and break into the first team. He'll make a full back look very silly and then smack one past the 'keeper from 20 yards. It's what he does.

We're likely to put a strong side out. Who do you think will give your side the most problems? Perhaps a weak link in the MK Dons side?

MKDRS: I have to confess I have little or no interest in the lofty heights of the Premier League and had to go and look up the Sunderland squad! I've heard good things about Sessegnon and always thought Fletcher was a good striker.

Cattermole as well. Is he still getting sent off every other game? Always rated him but from the point of view of having any hope of winning, we will need to play our usual game and not worry about what Sunderland might do.

We have no weak links - I have to say that or the Gaffer will kill me!

How do you see the game going, and what's your score prediction?

MKDRS: Looking at it objectively, it will be similar to QPR last season in the FA Cup. We'll make it really hard for Sunderland and we'll play well but lose narrowly.

I can't see Martin O'Neill taking us lightly and he'll make sure that his players know what they're up against. We won't go out to try and stop Sunderland playing and will play to win as we always do. Whatever the result, I'm confident that it will be a good spectacle.

However, speaking as a Dons fan who firmly believes that we will always win, I'll say we'll sneak it 2-1!

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