Set to compete in their first ever season in the Championship, Karl Robinson's side are the latest team to feature in our series of team previews
Milton Keynes Dons
Home ground: Stadium:mk
Manager: Karl Robinson
2014/15 league position: 2nd (League One)
2014/15 top goalscorer: Will Grigg (22 in all competitions)
Having snatched the final League One automatic promotion place from Preston North End’s grasp on the last day of the 2014/15 season, MK Dons head into their maiden Championship campaign determined ensure their stay in the second tier is anything but brief.
However, their hopes for the new season were dealt an early blow as leading goalscorer Will Grigg joined Wigan Athletic from Brentford, having spent last year on loan at stadium:mk.
Following on from the January departure of Benik Afobe to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Dele Alli’s return to parent club Tottenham Hotspur, Karl Robinson’s side are without their three leading goalscorers from last season – the trio netting 46 times between them in League One.
Acting quickly to replace them, Dons swooped to bring in Simon Church and former Bayern Munich player Dale Jennings on free transfers from Charlton Athletic and Barnsley respectively, while Peru international Cristian Benavente has also signed from Real Madrid.
Finishing last season League One’s highest goalscorers with 101 strikes, the goals flowed for Dons straight from the opening day as they recorded a 4-2 victory over Gillingham.
Following on from their positive start, MK Dons signalled their intent early on with a shock emphatic 4-0 victory over Premier League giants Manchester United in the second round of the Capital One Cup.
A 5-3 victory away at Barnsley and 6-1 win at home to Crewe Alexandra were the standout results over the next month as Robinson’s side looked to keep pace with runaway league leaders Bristol City.
Putting together a 12-match unbeaten run in the run-up to Christmas, which included 6-0 and 7-0 victories over Colchester United and Oldham Athletic, Dons moved to within a point of Bristol City with a game in hand on Boxing Day.
However, a crushing 3-0 home defeat to Walsall in their final game of 2014 saw them overtaken by both Swindon Town and Preston North End.
Responding well by going six matches unbeaten, a 5-0 win away at Crewe Alexandra saw them top League One at the end of January, having played two games more than Bristol City.
Sitting comfortably in second place come the end of February, after a 3-0 victory over Peterborough United, three defeats in a row, culminating in a 2-0 loss at home to Preston, saw them drop to fourth as they lost ground on their promotion rivals.
However, that would be their final defeat that season. Playing catch-up to North End, Dons won nine of their final 11 matches, recording a comfortable 4-1 victory over Notts County and Rob Hall-inspired 6-1 victory over Leyton Orient along the way.
A point behind Preston heading into the final day, MK Dons clinched an emphatic 6-1 victory over Yeovil Town to snatch second spot and secure automatic promotion, having seen Preston fall to defeat against Colchester United.
If Robinson’s side are able to replicate their form in front of goal in the Championship, then MK Dons may well just surprise a few sides in 2015/16.
FIXTURES V BOLTON IN 2015/16
Tuesday 18 August 2015 – 7:45pm kick-off at Stadium:mk
Saturday 23 January 2016 – 3pm kick-off at Macron Stadium
Bolton Wanderers and MK Dons will face each other for the first time in the upcoming 2015/16 season.