Manager Karl Robinson admits his side must first get past the challenge of Leyton Orient before they can start dreaming of the play-offs.
The Dons go into this weekend’s match-up four points adrift of the top six, and with Swindon Town and Sheffield United going head-to-head on Saturday, the men from MK1 have the opportunity to reduce that gap with a win over the Russell Slade’s side at Matchroom Stadium.
However, Robinson knows that defeating the O’s tomorrow afternoon is easier said than done and the 32-year-old was keen to emphasise to his players that they must be on top of their game if they are to pick up a valuable three points and keep their play-off hopes alive.
The Liverpudlian manager said: “Orient are a good side and playing down at their place is always going to be difficult. The boys will have to get their kit dirty again and they’ll have to fight and compete for every ball.
“Obviously we’ll be up against Charlie MacDonald on Saturday. He was a wonderful servant for the Football Club and that’s why I didn’t want to stand in his way when they weren’t playing games. We are aware of how hard Charlie MacDonald works and we’ll have to be prepared for that.
“If we were to win on Saturday then it’ll be five wins from seven games for us, which would be a tremendous achievement by the players. We’re not in bad form and we’ve had a bit of luck in some of the games recently, which you need, so it’s important that we don’t let ourselves down against Orient.
“72 points was my initial target because that’s been the benchmark for reaching the play-offs in previous seasons. I think because of how this season’s gone, 74 is the target we’ve really got to reach especially considering teams like Swindon have a much better goal difference than ourselves.
“People may look at Swindon and see that they only really need to win their next two games to all-but secure their place but winning two games of football at this time of the season is easier said than done, especially when you’re coming up against sides who are in good form.
“There’s not long to go now until the end of the season. The players keep on telling me that there isn’t four games to go, there are 7 but obviously we’ve got them four big regular season games to play before we can begin to really think about the play-offs.
“My sole focus is on getting the three points on Saturday against Leyton Orient.”
The Dons were boosted on Friday afternoon by the news that over 500 supporters will make the journey down to East London tomorrow, looking to help cheer their team onto an important win, and Robinson reserved praise for the travelling ‘MK Army’.
“I can’t thank the fans enough for what they’ve done over the last season. Our fans will be travelling down to Orient in their hundreds and we know their support on Saturday is going to be immense and we’ll give them the show they deserve.
“We’ve got four cup finals left and the players are buzzing. There are players who have been playing well that want to keep playing and there are players who haven’t been playing that want to be. We’ve got faces coming back from injury as well so we’re in a position where we can compete in every game we face.
“I’ve always said that when we’ve got our best players fit we’re as good as anybody in this League and we’re starting to get them guys back.
“Everyone apart from Stephen Gleeson is available on Saturday. We’ve got a couple of little niggles in the side and, although I don’t want to turn my cards over just yet, we will be making one or two changes.”