Boss confident goals will return
Since beating local rivals Northampton Town and Peterborough United 5-3 and 4-0 respectively, the Dons have found goals hard to come – they’ve scored just twice in four matches since that win at the ABAX Stadium at the end of January.
The first question Neilson fielded at his Thursday press conference was about the lack of goals this month and the 36-year-old was positive in his answer.
“It comes down to the small details and making the right decisions at the right times.
"We had a couple of games where it really clicked and in the last couple of games it hasn’t quite done that. There will be times during the season where you’ll have five chances during a game and score four and there will be other times where you don’t score any.
“It will come back. We’ll keep working hard and hopefully it will turn this Saturday.”
Happy with players’ progress
When Neilson arrived at Stadium MK back in early December, the Dons were flirting with the relegation places in Sky Bet League One but three months later they are in a position where reaching the play-off places isn’t out of the question.
That progress in itself has pleased the Dons boss.
“When I first came in the talk was about avoiding relegation so I’m pleased now that we’re talking about trying to get into the play-offs.
“The players have progressed really well and you can see that by the points total over the last 10 to 15 games – it’s gradually getting better.
“We need to keep building on that. If we can improve on that over the next block of five then we’ll have a chance of pushing up the table.”
Injury update – Skipper set to return
Neilson revealed that he hopes to have Dean Lewington available for the first time in four weeks.
The skipper has been sidelined with an ankle injury but will train on Thursday and Friday with the aim to be involved against Fleetwood this weekend.
Ben Reeves, meanwhile, continues to make progress in his rehabilitation from a groin problem.
He’ll be involved in training in a limited capacity this week but Neilson isn’t expecting him to be involved until the visit of Shrewsbury Town.
There was no update on Nicky Maynard, who missed Tuesday’s draw with Bury due to a hamstring complaint.
Darren Potter is available, though, after serving his one-match suspension for the red card he received against Oxford United.
“Pottsy will come back in – it’s good to get him back in because he gives us experience in the middle.”
Joe Walsh remains banned while Ed Upson is now also out for two games after collecting a 10th booking of the season on Tuesday.
Captain George – Neilson asked experienced pair for advice
With Dean Lewington and Darren Potter unavailable for Tuesday’s clash at Gigg Lane, Neilson handed George Williams the armband – capping a remarkable six years for the 23-year-old who was once released by the Dons at the age of 18.
His decision may have raised a few eyebrows given Williams’ age compared to some of his peers on the field but Neilson said it was a decision he made after speaking to club captain Lewington and goalkeeper David Martin.
“There were a couple who I thought could do it. I spoke to Lewie and I spoke to David Martin to get their thoughts on it and they felt George was the one who was right to do it.
“I thought he handled it well.”
That led to praise for the young defender, who has performed consistently well since breaking into the starting line-up in December despite playing in a number of positions across the backline.
“He’s done fantastically well and he’s a real steady player for us. He’s a good person to have about and he covers a lot of positions for us when he comes.”
Neilson expecting a tough test
Games don’t come much tougher for the Dons than this Saturday’s clash with in-form Fleetwood Town.
The Cod Army arrive in Milton Keynes in remarkable form having avoided defeat in each of their last 15 league outings – Neilson and his side are preparing himself for a difficult afternoon.
“It’s going to be a tough one for us. They’re pushing for automatic promotion and they come here in real good form.
“Uwe’s got them playing really well and they have a lot of pace up front – it’s going to be a tough game.”
Tickets for Saturday's clash with Fleetwood Town are priced at £22 adults, £17 over-65s/under-21s* and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE with a Young Dons membership*To book tickets click here, visit the Box Office/centre:mk kiosk or call 0333 200 5343.