Alan Smith has fond memories of facing today’s opponents Sheffield United, after he opened his account for the Club against the Blades back in April.
Karl Robinson’s side go into the game off the back of two successive League wins and without conceding a goal in three games and so they will be looking to extend their good run of form against the Yorkshire outfit.
It won’t be easy though, with Danny Wilson’s team lying in second-place having not lost a League game in 2012/13, and Smith knows full well the difficulty of the challenge ahead.
Speaking before the game, the Dons striker said “You want to play in the big games and it doesn’t get much bigger than this in League 1. United are favourites to win this division and they’ve started really well. But we’ll go into this game as we do any other, expecting to win.
“People may say we’re under pressure from outside influences but there is no greater pressure than that, that we’re putting on ourselves which is important because we know what we’re capable of and we’re not too far away from achieving that.”
Both the Blades and the Dons have shown a water-tight defence this season. United have only let in 10 goals, which is the lowest in the League, while Robinson’s defence has only been breached on 11 occasions.
And Smith expects another close encounter this afternoon especially, he believes, as teams adapt their style to contain the Dons’ attack when they visit stadiummk.
“Our home form has been good this year. It’s a different sort of challenge for us though because most teams are now changing their formation to combat us when they come here.
“The bigger reputation you get, the harder it is to win games at home by a bigger scoreline than the odd goal and that’s what’s happening to us.
“Leyton Orient had not played 4-5-1 all season and then on Wednesday night they do so by putting an extra man in midfield to deal with Chaddy (Luke Chadwick). That’s just an example of the respect most teams show us when they play here.
“Sheffield United’s results have been quite similar to ours. Defensively they’ve conceded one less goal than us and we’ve both scored a similar amount of goals.
“Both of us are very strong at the back and will win most games by the odd goal. They went to Swindon in the week and got a good result so they will be full of confidence, especially being second in the League so it all bodes well for a good game.”
It is well documented that Smith cannot fulfill the demands of playing Saturday, Tuesday but the former-England international is eager to have an impact on today’s game whether that be starting or coming off the bench.
“I relish every chance I get to play after all my injuries and I know can’t play every single game but I always look to make an influence when I come on, whether as a sub or even it’s just from being around the place.
“I’ve really enjoyed this season though - I feel fit. I’ve only started three games and got my first goal at Scunthorpe but I look at football totally different to how I use to now.”