MK Dons boss Karl Robinson admits he is facing the toughest test of his tenure after their 1-0 home defeat to Stevenage in League One.
Lucas Akins scored the only goal of Saturday's stadium:mk encounter in the first half as Boro ended the Dons' seven-match unbeaten run to move to within four points of table-toppers Tranmere.
Robinson was only able to name five substitutes due to a spate of injuries to key players and he believes a tough few weeks are now ahead after Stephen Gleeson hobbled off at the end with a suspected broken foot.
Robinson said: "We created the chances but didn't take them - I'm gutted, obviously, because I hate losing.
"We're a long way from where we want to be, I'm not going to bury my head in the sand and say that everything is rosy in the garden - it's far from it because we're six points behind Stevenage now.
"But we're only in October so there's a long way to go. This makes me hungry, determined and it also gives me the biggest challenge of my managerial life to go into a period of games with only probably four subs - it's going to be difficult."