Izale McLeod is relishing the prospect of re-opening his MK Dons account against his previous employers Portsmouth tonight.
The former Derby trainee netted 11 times for Pompey during his brief stay in Hampshire earlier this season but, after completing a move back to Milton Keynes in January, the Club’s all time leading goalscorer is now in search of his 61st Dons goal.
And McLeod, if he did happen to score this evening, was keen to stress any celebration would not be aimed at his old club, instead it would be based on the joy and relief of re-opening his Dons account, which he is yet to do since returning to stadiummk.
Speaking ahead of the game, the 28-year-old said: “Getting off the mark tomorrow would be ideal and if I did then I would celebrate.
“I did have a good time at Portsmouth and I’m really pleased I went there but if I weigh-up what’s more important to me – playing against a former team or scoring my first goal since returning to the Club I established myself at, then my decision will be to celebrate.
“My thoughts, though, are entirely on helping us get three points. We know we need to start winning games and we’re not burying our heads in the sand thinking it’s just going to happen.
“We’re going to have to keep working hard and if we do get the victories, which I’m sure we can, then I think we can get into the playoff spots. It’s not unrealistic to believe that we can still achieve promotion - everybody in the squad firmly believes we can get there.”
The Dons’ opponents, Portsmouth, are experiencing difficult times both on and off the pitch, with the 2008 FA Cup winners currently in administration while sitting at the foot of the League 1 table, having not won a game since October.
And McLeod has sympathy for the Pompey supporters and is hopeful their fortunes can turn around in the very near future.
“I didn’t have a permanent, secure contract during my time with Pompey which was not ideal. The majority of us there had families and didn’t live in Portsmouth so we were based in hotels most of the time and were away from our loved ones which meant we couldn’t settle.
“I feel sorry for the fans there because they are in a dire situation where they can’t really buy a win. Hopefully they can get some sort of investment in the near future which can keep the club afloat and hopefully then, they can start again.”