Manager Karl Robinson believes tonight’s clash with Swindon Town is ‘one of the biggest games of the season’.
The Dons are currently seven points adrift of the Robins, who occupy the final play-off spot in League 1, but a win this evening could see that gap reduced to just four with a respective amount of games left to go.
Robinson’s men still hold hope of finishing in the top-six come the end of April but their manager admits that to do so they must avoid defeat tonight against a Swindon side that are looking for their second successive promotion.
Speaking ahead of the match, the 32-year-old manager said: “This is arguably one of the biggest games of the season for us. We as a team understand the pressure that comes with that but one thing with us is we’re used to these high-pressure games and we’ve also got a record against the top teams at home.
“I believe if we take a point from the game but win our next fourwe’ll still have a chance of finishing in the play-offs, that’s how we’ve got to look at. The boys have been in high-spirits after being so down on Saturday and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“We’ve got to make sure we give it our all from the start and keep working hard. If we do lose tomorrow then it’s because we were beaten by the better team and it won’t be beaten through a lack of effort or commitment. I’ll back this team against anyone and I back them in this one.”
Beating Swindon, however, will be by no means an easy task and Robinson was keen to pay tribute to his opposite number, Kevin MacDonald, as well as tonight’s opposition.
He added: “Swindon will always have a place in my heart as it’s a place where I grew up and learnt my trade, so every time I play them it’s a bit sentimental for me, personally.
“Kevin MacDonald, is somebody who’s got a huge reputation as one of the best coaches up and down the country. You just have to look at some of the players he’s brought through the Aston Villa youth set-up and that’s a tremendous testament to him.
“I’m looking forward to going up against them tonight. They’ve bought a lot of good players and they’ve spent a lot of money, which obviously we can’t compete against, but we’re going to have a right good go, especially with some of our players getting back to fitness.
“Luke Chadwick is very close to being able to start and I’ll make a decision on him over the next 24 hours but he’s almost ready. Dean Lewington has trained and David Martin has taken part in a short session as well, so we could have a near-fully fit side.
“There are one or two players who are carrying knocks but then are one or two players that could come back so nearly everybody will have a chance to get themselves onto the team-sheet It’s nice to have players back now and I just hope it’s not too little too late.”