KARL Robinson is looking forward to seeing a number of old friends when he takes his MK Dons side to Swindon tomorrow, saying the town has a “special place” in his heart.
Robinson was on the Robins’ books as a YTS trainee before a serious back injury put paid to his ambitions of making it as a player but he refused to let that blow stop him pursuing a career in football and went on to become one of the youngest managers in Football League history when he was appointed Dons boss in 2010.
He still credits a number of Swindonians for the way they coaxed him through his injury as a teenager and on Friday he’s due to visit the family who put him up during his spell in Wiltshire.
“It has a special place in my heart because it's where I grew up,” he said. “I'm going to meet the family I lived with on Friday, I've not seen them for many years.
“I got signed when I was 15, and I lived here for three years as a YTS and a young professional. But I got injured and didn't play for a long time.
“Some people there really looked after me. For a young boy from Liverpool, not to play football for 13 months was very difficult. But they helped me through it.
“It'll be nice to see them. One of them is my ex-youth team manager's wife, and the people from the digs. It'll be nice because I've still got some of my best friends in Swindon.
“I always enjoy going there. The results haven't been overly favourable, if I'm being honest.
“It's a nice place for me, but it's a difficult place for the club. But regardless of my feelings, they'll have no relevance come 3pm."
Robinson branded Town as “unpredictable” and the County Ground “a tough place to go” but he’s certain his players will be up for the game.
“This is a cup final. What a ding-dong of a game,” he said. “We have put ourselves in a position to go and beat Swindon at the County Ground. It could be our biggest win of the season.
“It's a massive afternoon. With Walsall playing Wolves - if we win, we could go seventh. What an incentive that is. One place outside the play-offs.
“I looking to make two or three changes for Saturday. Some players need a rest, some need to realise where they are.
“There will be some impact changes, and one tactical change. We feel we're going there and change the shape. ”