Ince to leave MK Dons

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The Independent Online

MK Dons manager Paul Ince has announced that he will leave the club for a second time at the end of the season.

The 42-year-old rejoined the Coca-Cola League One side last summer and was expected to mount a promotion challenge but a run of poor form has seen the Dons lose touch with the play-off places.

Going into tomorrow's clash with relegation-threatened Wycombe, the Dons are 12 points behind sixth-placed Huddersfield with four games remaining.

This morning's papers reported that former England captain Ince was set to be sacked as part of a cost-cutting campaign at stadium:mk but he has now decided to resign.

However he will stay on for the last four games of the season before leaving next month.

Ince said: "Having discussed with the chairman the plans for next season, I don't feel it will be possible to take the team forward as I would have liked due to the budget cutbacks that he is going to have to make throughout the club.

"I have enjoyed my time as MK Dons manager, will take some great memories from both my spells here and would like to thank those associated with the club for the support I have received."

Ince guided the Dons to the League Two title and a Johnstone's Paint Trophy win in his first spell in charge before leaving to take charge of Blackburn in June 2008.

However, he lasted just 17 games at Ewood Park before being dismissed and was re-hired by Dons chairman Pete Winkelman last summer.

Winkelman said: "Having increased our investment in the first-team squad this season to capitalise on the momentum Paul himself helped to create, we have felt it necessary to apply some prudence to next year's budgets throughout the club.

"These measures bring expenditure in line with the previous campaign and ensure that our resources are spent responsibly.

"Regrettably, Paul has made it clear that this decision would make it difficult for him to carry on and he has decided to step down as manager.

"This was entirely his decision."

The Dons started the season strongly but have lost their way in recent months as injury and suspensions took their toll.

Ince was forced to field 40-year-old coach Alex Rae during the 0-0 draw with Oldham in midweek and slammed a section of supporters after the game for booing his side off.

Ince's squad have picked up a massive 122 yellow cards this season - 45 more than any other team - and Ince was handed a five-match touchline ban by the Football Association today for improper conduct.

Four of those will be served this season.

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