No Pool talks for Dons boss

Milton Keynes Dons' manager Karl Robinson
Milton Keynes Dons' manager Karl Robinson
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MK DONS have done a U-turn and will not allow Blackpool to talk to their manager Karl Robinson.

The 32-year-old was due to meet Pool chairman Karl Oyston today after an official approach to the League One club last night.

The Seasiders were granted permission to talk to the Liverpudlian only for the Dons to announce their change of heart this morning.

Their statement read: “Karl is an ambitious, bright young manager and he is firmly focused on realising MK Dons’ dream of Championship football.

“Following discussions between Karl and the chairman, the club have turned down an approach from Blackpool to speak to Karl regarding the managerial vacancy at Bloomfield Road.”

Robinson was in the Dons dug-out for his side’s FA Cup replay win over Sheffield Wednesday last night, despite being ill all day.

He said: “I was at the doctor’s in the morning, struggling to make it to the game, and then I was sat at home and I see on the ticker: ‘Karl Robinson linked with Blackpool’.

“At that stage, I wasn’t meant to sit in the dugout, I was meant to sit in a room to watch the game because the doctor told me to stay out the way of everybody.

“But I thought I can’t do that now because it will look a little bit suspect.

“I spoke to my chairman after the game and we’ll see what happens.

“Whatever happens, I think it’s then fair that my decision is made internally.

“My daughter is saying don’t go because she likes her school!”

Blackpool are looking for their third manager this season after Michael Appleton quit to join Blackburn Rovers last week.

Oyston has called in Pool legend Jimmy Armfield to help choose the club’s next boss.

Armfield, along with secretary Matt Williams, spent yesterday going through potential candidates before deciding to approach Robinson last night.

Robinson coached at Liverpool and Blackburn’s academies before getting his big break at MK Dons, where he was assistant to Paul Ince.

He was the youngest ever coach to gain his FA pro licence and became the Football League’s youngest manager at the age of 29 when the Dons appointed him in May 2010.

Robinson has since led the Dons to consecutive play-offs and is regarded as one of football’s brightest up-and-coming managers.

Pool again find themselves looking elsewhere and club secretary Williams said: “It’s a process I’m working through with the chairman. Jimmy Armfield was at the club with us yesterday, going through various names.

“We are speaking to a lot of people, and are asking various people we know and trust in the game for their opinions. I don’t want to put a timescale on an appointment. We are open-minded.”

While clubs have been known to approach contracted managers behind the back of their employers, Pool are insisting on following the rules and asking for permission first.

This has led to their approaches to Bradford, Dundee United and now MK Dons becoming public knowledge.

And Williams said this can be frustrating. He added: “Karl has put a couple of calls in to chairmen and, for some reason, they want to put these out in the public.

“We have a list of people we want to speak to and we are working through it.”

As reported by The Gazette last week, one manager who Pool were impressed with was Sean O’Driscoll.

The former Nottingham Forest boss held talks at Bloomfield Road before choosing Bristol City instead.

And Williams confirmed he was offered the Blackpool job. “Sean O’Driscoll is the only manager who has been offered the job,” he said.

“We met two managers on Friday. They were very different characters. One of them was Sean O’Driscoll, who eventually went to Bristol City. We had a discussion and he wanted 24 hours to think about it.

“The Bristol City thing broke and he thought they were a better fit for him. We move on.”

n HENNING Berg set tongues wagging last night after being spotted at Bloomfield Road.

The former Blackburn boss was sacked after less than two month in charge at Blackburn, a spell which included defeat at Blackpool a month ago.

But while it may have appeared he was in town to talk about the vacant manager’s roe, it’s believed he was simply there to watch friend Brede Hangeland in action.