A testing trip to Brighton and Hove Albion faces Charlton in the third round of the FA Cup – if they can get passed MK Dons in a second round replay.
The two teams played out a goalless draw on Saturday , the only point of interest being the Addicks’ new manager, Karl Robinson, who was confronting the team who put his name on the map.
Inside knowledge was not enough to give the home side the advantage and they meet again sometime at Stadium MK over the extended Christmas period for the chance to meet Championship contenders Brighton at the Amex on January 7.
The game showed little about what Robinson intends to do with a side that is riddled with inconsistency, uncertain about its future and at the centre of an ongoing feud between supporters and ownership.
The MK Dons had the better of the match but chances fell to Josh Magennis and Ademola Lookman too. However Robinson said he was pleased with the “mentality” of the team – which has been suspect in the past – and he confessed a few jitters of his own.
He said: “It’s probably the most nervous I’ve been before a game. You’re always fearful, what if this happens, what if that goes against you. My players give me everything. They’ll learn about me, how honest I am and how hard I’m going to work.”
The MK Dons fans gave their former manager a standing ovation – and it’s the kind of warmth that Robinson is going to have to feud with a more sceptical, care-worn Valley faithful.
He said: “I want that connection with these fans. I told the players to go and clap the fans, these people deserve that. The price doesn’t go up or down if we win or lose so we have to treat them with respect. The next stage is to develop this club moving forward.
“I’m going to do my damnedest. I’m going to be working every hour God sends. The more we coach, the better we become.”