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Josh McEachran provides honest assessment of MK Dons’ promotion chances

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Milton Keynes Dons have had an excellent season in League One and they could end it in style by sneaking into the top two on the final day.

The Dons travel to sixth placed Plymouth Argyle in hoping to bridge the one point gap between them and second placed Rotherham United.

The Millers face off with relegation-threatened Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium, in a match that will probably be a lot tougher than the league table suggests.

Liam Manning deserves so much credit for galvanising a young squad that had lost their leader in Russell Martin on the cusp of the start of the third tier campaign.

But the former West Ham United academy coach has taken them to a new level, and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the play-offs, even if automatic promotion is unachievable.

Josh McEachran, 29, is now a senior player at the club and he offered an honest assessment of their promotion chances when he spoke to The Athletic.

He said: “It’s a massive day.

“We lost to Sheffield Wednesday and Oxford recently, but we got a good result against Morecambe at the weekend. The lads are in good spirits. We have overachieved massively with the budget we have.

“We know we have a great squad, but no one would have tipped us to be where we are now after where we finished last season (13th). It would be the first promotion of my career and I’d be very proud.

“Russell (Martin) was a great coach and it was a shock to all of us when he left. But Liam has come in and done an unbelievable job.

“It’s his first senior managerial role in England and he’s gone from strength to strength. Liam has a similar playing style to Russell’s. But he has his own way.

“It’s not as expansive. We’ve conceded fewer goals and chances. We have a bit less possession, but I’m really enjoying it. We haven’t changed formation.

“We still play with a box in midfield and I am one of the two midfielders in front of the defence. I like dictating the play, being in a ball-playing team. I’ve been doing it for years.

“It’s my favourite position. It’s mad to think I’m 29 now. Everyone says enjoy your football and they’re right when they say it goes so quick.

“It just feels like a few years ago when I made my debut for Chelsea at 17. It is hitting home, especially as I turn 30 for my next birthday.

“But it’s certainly a happier time than when I was getting lots of injuries or not playing at all. Promotions don’t come very often, so I’m in a good place.”

The Dons and Argyle played out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, in Steven Schumacher’s first league game in charge of the visitors, taking an early lead at Home Park would put a lot of pressure on Rotherham United with news potentially filtering onto the pitch.

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The Verdict

McEachran has been one of many success stories at Stadium MK this season.

The club has been able to bring in so many players who looked disillusioned in terms of what the next step in their careers was going to be, in the last couple of seasons, and it appears to be culminating in an inevitable promotion to the Championship, whether that is occurs this term or not.

The major concern will be if Manning is to depart if they do not win promotion, this season has shown that they can deal with managerial exits and replace them adequately, however, it would be a crushing blow for the youthful squad, given the positive strides they have made on the pitch this season.


Passionate Football League obsessive and long-suffering Charlton Athletic supporter.

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Article title: Josh McEachran provides honest assessment of MK Dons’ promotion chances

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