The search continues for MK Dons in the pursuit of a new Head Coach


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Three managers in four matches can never be the ideal situation for any side, but this is exactly where MK Dons find themselves again.

Dean Lewington has again found himself stepping into the managerial office whilst the hunt for Liam Manning’s replacement remains in place, having been asked hastily to take control of training 18 months previously, in the aftermath of Russell Martin’s shock departure to Swansea.

Had it not been for a nasty hamstring tear that required surgery, Lewington would have been playing week-in, week-out, however, with the operation date just a week later, it made sense for the 38-year-old to take over the reigns in the initial period.

With no candidate already lined-up and in place to take over immediately and the search ongoing, Lewington’s operation date coming and going, it became apparent that the centre back could not lead his side from the operating table in Ward C.

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The powers that be at Stadium MK were left with two options: fast-track the recruitment process or turn to the playing staff for their second Interim Head Coach in as many weeks.

With only two other players holding coaching badges within the squad, namely Bradley Johnson and David Martin, it was the summer signing from Blackburn that was asked to piece together a side.

Bradley Johnson, in interim charge for the Dons, became the first person to score and manage Milton Keynes in the same week after his header opened the scoring in their 0-2 victory against Portsmouth on Saturday followed by his brief tenure for the 0-3 Fourth Round Carabao Cup loss at home to Leicester City.

The 35-year-old midfielder would have hardly expected to go from playing to managing within four days, but in his first foray his colleagues-come-players did not let him down.

With the Club captain still bed-bound from surgery and with no incoming manager on the horizon, it is likely that Johnson will be asked to go again.

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With such a crucial month ahead for the Buckinghamshire outfit, sitting 22nd and deep in the mire in the League table and out of all cup competitions, it is imperative that the new man to take over the hot seat is given time to embed his style onto the players and picking up points as the transition takes effect.

It is inevitable that with confidence lacking the new Head Coach, whoever they may be, has a monumental task upon their hands.

They will not be entrusted with bringing in players, as that is under the stewardship of Liam Sweeting, the Sporting Director at Milton Keynes Dons. What will fall under their control will be seeing the implementation of tactics and new ideas, alongside the integration of those signed by Sweeting and his technical department.

Despite all the negatives surrounding the league position, current form and the lack of the quality desired within the playing squad, the Dons do have a couple of embers within their playing staff that with the right nurturing and utilised in the right situations, could be the focal point for the new incumbents to mould and build the first team around.

Two young Irishmen in midfield, Conor Grant and Dawson Devoy, look to have something and barring a couple of abject performances in the first half of the campaign, it appears they could potentially have found a pair of diamonds in the rough rather than just flashes in the pan.

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The priorities for however does take over the mantle will be ensuring that Sweeting can strengthen the squad during the January transfer window and building momentum into a beleaguered and downtrodden side.

The squad currently carries a whole host of players who are clearly struggling to perform to the levels required for third tier English football so finding new clubs for such players, whether that be permanently or on loan, will be pivotal.

Twelve months prior, the Dons recruited Matt Smith and Dan Kemp into Stadium MK on deadline day with both severely underwhelming.

In nineteen displays Smith, a current Wales international, has failed to demonstrate anywhere near the level of skill or ability to hold down a place in the starting eleven and Kemp has produced even less.

It really is a sorry state of affairs when you consider that on Boxing Day 2021, the Dons rallied from a 2-0 and ten-men deficit after eight minutes to come away with all three points.

Scoring the goals were Scott Twine and Matt O’Riley in an inspired display, with O’Riley less than one year later playing Champions League football for Celtic and Twine starring for Championship toppers Burnley.

The bookies favourites to be the next head coach are Mark Jackson, Steve Morison, Darren Ferguson, and Leam Richardson, but whoever is given the chance to become the Dons’ twelfth manager will certainly know they are not taking the easy road with their next employment as the road ahead looks anything but sturdy.

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Covering Milton Keynes Dons football, Northants Steelbacks Cricket and the England International side also.

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