The key talking points from Robbie Neilson’s pre-match press conference ahead of the Sky Bet League One clash with Gillingham...
Neilson confirmed that George Baldock should be available on Saturday despite limping out of Tuesday’s win in the Emirates FA Cup.
“He hadn’t been feeling well and then he got a bit of a knock as well,” Neilson said. “We’ve given him a couple of days off but he’ll come back in today to do a light bit and then he’ll train (on Friday).”
Kieran Agard is also fit to play after being left out of the starting XI in midweek due to precautionary measures, while his fellow frontman Nicky Maynard may make a return after a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
“Nicky will be available. He’s been training really hard. He had yesterday off to recover. The next two days we’ll push him hard and hopefully have him on the bench for Saturday.”
The only injury concern for Neilson, other than long-term absentee Scott Wootton, is defender Joe Walsh and although he may miss this weekend’s trip, he could be back in time for Boxing Day.
Confidence in Nicky
Should Maynard feature on Saturday, he’ll be looking to get on the scoresheet for the first time this season – a goal which would also take him to the 100 mark in his career.
Neilson has confidence in his striker to find his form sooner rather than later, commenting: “He’s a top player from what I’ve seen from him in training and in previous years.
“Everyone has had a difficult year so far and sometimes the focus can get put on certain players but we’ve turned the corner now so I expect Nicky to come back in and be a key part of the team, scoring goals for us.”
Taking it steady with Chuks
Aneke made his first home start for the Dons in Tuesday’s 3-1 win, as he continues his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury but Neilson feels it’s important to take things steady with the towering frontman.
“It is about fitness at the moment for him. There is no doubt the ability is there, it’s about getting him to a level where he can do it for 90 minutes. I think he’s six weeks away from that at least – we can’t push him too hard.”
“It’s a big reason why we brought in Neil MacFarlane. He’s been here for four or five years and knows the league inside out.”
“It’s about getting more of a knowledge of the players we are playing against, as well as what style of football teams and managers play. You can watch all the games you like on the TV, it’s not until you actually see them on the pitch you get a real idea of the teams and players.
Neilson’s midweek trip to the Macron Stadium to watch Gillingham was not only a scouting trip ahead of this Saturday’s match but also a chance for the new boss to watch two Sky Bet League One rivals in action as he continues to build his knowledge of the division.
Getting to know Sky Bet League One
“It’s going to be a tough game but it’s one we want to win.”
“They’ve got two wide guys in Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Frank Nouble that, if you allow them to play, they are good players –we need to make sure they don’t play!
Neilson pin-pointed Gillingham’s two wide players as his side’s main threats on Saturday, one of which is former Dons loanee Jay Emmanuel-Thomas who has scored 10 goals this campaign.
Gills dangerous out wide
“It’s alright doing it (at Stadium MK) in huge games but when you go away to places like Gillingham you have to perform. It’s about going there and getting three points.”
“It’s been a decent start. You obviously want to win every game so we’ll have to carry it on into Gillingham. It’s a huge game for us.
After a difficult first outing, Neilson has led the Dons to two wins from two and the 36-year-old is looking to build on a strong start this weekend.
Keen to build on a positive startTickets for the clash with Gillingham can now only be bought on Saturday at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium, priced from £10 adults, £5 over-65s/under-18s and FREE for under-12s.