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Robinson puts league above cup
MK Dons manager Karl Robinson is dreaming of Wembley - not in the FA Cup but in the npower League One play-off final.
Saturday will be a historic day for the Dons. They will play in the FA Cup fifth round for the first time in their short existence when Barnsley visit stadium:mk.
Having already beaten Championship opposition in this season's competition in the shape of the Tykes' south Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday, and won so impressively away at QPR in the previous round, the Milton Keynes club will see the visit of Gary Flitcroft's side as a winnable tie.
Victory would put them just one game away from a Wembley appearance in the semi-finals.
But while Robinson acknowledges his team's achievement and the occasion, being careful not to undermine the FA Cup, he politely insists that the league remains his priority.
"I think it is a great draw for us. It is a tie both clubs and managers will look to win. They will see it as a winnable tie and so will we," said Robinson.
"The FA Cup writes some wonderful stories. This year it has done it for us. We beat AFC Wimbledon, we went to Hillsborough - the scene, as a Liverpool fan, of my worst FA Cup memory - we won at QPR.
"This club is breaking records and it will be a historic occasion for us all. It sounds weird to say it, but a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup is at stake.
"The FA Cup means everything to me, I love it. I've got a picture up on my wall in one of my rooms at home with my daughters holding the FA Cup.
"It means a lot to me that we can compete at this level and I'm looking forward to playing Barnsley.
"However, I would swap it all for a place in the automatic promotion spots.
"I've pictured Wembley. I've pictured the play-off final - that is when I want to be at Wembley."
The Dons will be without the cup-tied Izale McLeod and the suspended Antony Kay and Ryan Lowe.
With McLeod and Lowe unavailable, former Leeds striker Alan Smith is likely to start up front.
Barnsley could be forgiven for focusing all their attention on surviving another season in the npower Championship, but Saturday's tricky fifth-round tie is a welcome distraction for manager David Flitcroft.
The Tykes are on a roll under Flitcroft, who has steered them to six wins, one draw and a single defeat in eight games since replacing Keith Hill as boss at the end of December to give fans genuine hope they can haul themselves clear of the drop.
Two of those victories have come against Championship rivals Burnley and Hull in rounds three and four of the FA Cup respectively and with a money-spinning televised quarter-final awaiting the winners at stadium:mk on Saturday, Flitcroft has incorporated the famous knockout competition into his grand plan.
"I love the tournament, I love the trophy and I can't wait for Saturday's game," the 41-year-old said.
"The semi-finals being at Wembley is a great plus. This whole process is all about going home and making your family proud of you and the FA Cup seems to do that more than ever. It just catches the imagination.
"The players want to win the football match, there's no doubt about that and it gives them a welcome break from the league because it's been relentless since I took over.
"There's been a lot of planning, a lot of things have changed and we've moved quite a long way in a short space of time, which sometimes takes its toll."
Barnsley reached the semi-finals of the competition at Wembley in 2008 - they lost to Cardiff - following famous wins in successive rounds against Liverpool and Chelsea, but Flitcroft insists he is not looking that far ahead.
"I don't work like that, just one day at a time," he said.
"We've had a real planning week and it's been meticulous for this game.
"The players have really bought into how we want to do things and different learning experiences.
"We took the boys to watch MK Dons at Doncaster on Tuesday night, then did a classroom session. I'm just trying to bring as many different types of learning to the players."
Jason Scotland could be handed his first start for the club.
Scotland, who arrived last month on a short-term deal until the end of the season, has stepped off the substitutes' bench to score Barnsley's winner in each of his first three matches.
Scott Wiseman is Flitcroft's only new injury concern after the defender picked up a knock in training that has left him doubtful.
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