Robbie Neilson knows there is pressure for his side to get a result on Saturday but the MK Dons boss won’t let that affect his players.
The men from MK1 are still awaiting their first Sky Bet League One victory of the 2017/18 campaign and they’ll hope to collect that this weekend when they take on Gillingham at Stadium MK.
“We’re always under pressure for results because we want to be at the top end of the league,” Neilson said in his pre-match press conference, which can be watched in full on iFollow MK Dons.
“While we know there’s pressure to get a result on Saturday, we need to make sure when we get there we’re relaxed enough to go and play.”
He added: “I expect a tough game from Gillingham. They beat us down there last season so we know it’s going to be a hard one for us – we have to stand up to the physicality and hope that our attacking players can be on form to win us the game.”
Here’s what else we learnt from Neilson’s pre-match press conference...
Osman Sow an important signing
“We’ve been working really hard on it. We had other targets but Osman was always the one we were after. We felt we had to keep pushing for him. We tried to get him in the January but it didn’t work out. We worked all through the summer to try and get it done so it’s been a long process. Andy Cullen’s done a lot of work, going back and forwards with the club and Osman’s agents. I’m really pleased to get it over the line.”
“Firstly, he’ll score goals – he’s got a good goalscoring record. He’s very quick, he’s got a good left-footed and he’s got good skill, so we’ll link-up play well. All in all, he’s just a good player. He’ll bring a lot more attacking threat to the team, which we’ve missed in the last couple of games. Osman is one player who can give us that spark.”
Pursuit of other targets
“We need at least two, possibly three, after Osman. It’s something we’re working hard on but, as I’ve said all along, it’s about getting the right players in. so that when the window shuts, we have the right squad here.”
“The squad’s looking good. (Chuks) Aneke and (Peter) Pawlett have been back training. Chuks won’t be ready for the weekend but Peter will be available for selection. He gives us an attacking threat, which I think we’ve just been missing a little.”
Lee Nicholls’ performances
“I’m delighted for him. It was a big decision for us to let David Martin go, who had been here for a long time. David was a great servant to the Club and a top professional but we just felt Lee had reached that stage where we had to trust him to be the No. 1 – I think he’s proven that was the correct decision. The players have taken to him, the fans have taken to him and his performances have been top drawer so far. He has to continue that now.”
Transfer window discussion
“I think the only way they’d be able to (shut the transfer window before the season starts) is if the whole of Europe did the same because if they shut the British market early, then it puts us at a massive disadvantage because teams can come and sign your players and you don’t have any recourse to go and get a player in to replace them. I can’t see it happening unless the whole of Europe changes their window. The problem there is a lot of leagues in Europe haven’t started yet. Unless they get it to a stage where we all start at the same time then I can’t see it changing. The window does make it difficult initially when trying to build your squad. For instance, we’re looking at players who are in Championship and Premier League teams and we’re waiting for things to move at these clubs before we can get the targets we’re looking for – that makes it a waiting game.
Get rid of the transfer window?
“The difficult you’d have with that, is that your best players can get cherry-picked. It would make it so hard for the smaller clubs. If we have a player who does phenomenal for 10 games then another club will come and pluck them – then it changes your whole season. I like the idea of the window, whether it can be structured a bit different is up for debate.”
Bring back the loan window?
“I quite like it the way it is. I like having a squad once the window shuts. The loan window allowed people not to do their work at the right time – if you made a mistake you could go and nick somebody short term. You have players in your youth team that can come and play for you and you have players who are out of favour that can come and play for you.”
Tickets for Saturday's clash with Gillingham at Stadium MK are priced from £22 adults, £17 over-65s/under-21s and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE*. Discounts available for members and groups.
To book tickets click here, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off.