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MK Dons manager Karl Robinson has said Chelsea's lucrative visit to MK Dons on Sunday (31 January) for the FA Cup fourth round could be an unexpected opportunity to bolster the squad before the end of the transfer window as the club bids to avoid the relegation to League One. The manager claims that "playing Chelsea and staying up" in the Championship this campaign could replicate the success they had in the 2014-2014 when they beat Manchester United in the Capital One Cup before securing the promotion.
The Dons are currently 20th in the Championship table, just two points above the relegation zone. Robinson is aware that the main target will be to stay up but believes that the Chelsea encounter could be a major boost both for the squad confidence ahead of the second part of the campaign and also for the transfer window, due to the unexpected extra money that the game will generate from a guaranteed sell-out at the Stadium MK.
"This is extra money we didn't expect to have. It's an opportunity to do something we didn't think we could do. There will be outgoings, because of the cost of putting on these games, but it aids other things," the manager admitted in the press conference ahead of the game as quoted by Milton Keynes Citizen.
"But there's no point in going into the market and just doing something for the sake of it. It's got to be right. And if it is, it'll give us a tremendous lift towards the end of the season."
Robinson, meanwhile, believes that the visit of the Blues will be an historic day for his side, who last season when they were in League One couldn't even imaging playing against the likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas.
"If we can have two successful seasons, playing Manchester United and getting promotion, and then playing Chelsea and staying up, I would look at it as complete success," Robinson said, referring to the Dons' win over Manchester United 4-0 in one of Louis van Gaal's first games at Old Trafford.
"In terms of importance, the biggest is still the AFC Wimbledon game and it showed our class. QPR away was a big one. And the Stockport game too, when we got promoted. There are a lot of proud moments. But I want us to go and enjoy it. There's pressure because we want to win it."
"We want the fans to enjoy this game, sing your hearts out watching some of the best footballers we've seen. We never thought we'd see Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, John Terry – these greats of English football playing here."
Robinson therefore has urged his side and the fans to enjoy the historic experience, hoping the game could also serve them as a turning point in their struggling campaign in the league. "It has givens us something to focus on and to galvanise us," he said. "It's hard being down the bottom. We've done a good job of hiding it. We're disappointed, obviously, to be where we are.
"If we get beat, we get beat. We'll have a right good go. The magic of the FA Cup has once again shone on a Football League club. I grew up in a city where football was a driving force, and I want to bring that to Milton Keynes. It's a lovely place to bring up a family, but at some stage we want football to be a driving force in the community."