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What we learnt: Robbie's Wigan presser

Boss covers a number of topics ahead of Saturday's season opener...

4 August 2017

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Robbie Neilson believes Saturday’s opponents Wigan Athletic provide a great opening challenge for his MK Dons side.

Neilson begins his first full campaign as Dons boss this Saturday afternoon, when the Latics visit Stadium MK for one of the stand-out fixtures on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 EFL season.

The 37-year-old hopes his side can make a positive start to the year and lay down a marker with a positive result against a Wigan outfit who are viewed as one of the favourites for promotion.

“It's a great challenge for us,” Neilson said in his pre-match press conference. “They've come out of the Championship and retained a lot of their players and recruited well too.

“However, if we can match the levels we had against Brentford and Leicester, we'll have a real chance to take three points.”

He added: “It's always exciting at the start of the season because everyone hopes they'll be at the top end of the table. The first four, five, six games of the season will start to give us an idea of that the table will look like and it's up to us to prove we're one of the top teams.”

Here’s what else we learnt from Neilson’s first pre-match press conference of the season...

Near fully-fit squad...
“Thankfully at this moment in time we’ve got a fully-fit squad to pick from apart from (Chuks) Aneke, who will be out a little bit longer as we knew at the start of pre-season. We’re pleased that they are all fit.”

Options to replace the suspended Joe Walsh...
“We've got options in there. We've got Scott Wootton, Paul Downing, Dean Lewington can shift in there and Ebanks-Landell, who has come in and been fantastic.”

Managing Scott Wootton...
“Scott has played a lot of pre-season games and he looks really good. We need to be careful with him and manage his game-time in the coming months but he's a leader and he will be one of our top players this season.”

A ‘winning’ style of play...
“The style of play will be to win matches – whether that changes from game to game or through periods in the season depends on who is available and who we're playing. Ultimately, it comes down to Saturday afternoons and three points at the end of it.”

Still in the transfer market...
“We'd still like to do a little bit more but there's four weeks left. We have to get players who are better than we had before, and some good players have left here so we need players who are very, very good. I don't want to put a number on it because you might not get your targets, and more might come along. It's important we concentrate on getting our targets.

Working on adding a ‘number 9’...
“We're looking to recruit a number 9 and we're looking to get that over the line soon. We're not 'almost there' – in football, until they're here and signed it's not done.”

Selection options available...
“We’ll play different formations against different teams and players will come in and players will go out. We're not carrying a huge squad of first-team players so we will try to keep them all fit. We hope we've got a more athletic team, a bit more dynamic, energetic and some hungry players who want to bring this club forward.”

Tickets for Saturday's clash with Wigan are priced from £22 adults, £17 over-65s/under-21s* and £7 under-18s, while under-12s go FREE*. Club Dons members are entitled to a £2 discount on tickets and Young Dons can save £1 on the matchday ticket price. 

To book tickets click here, visit the Box Office or call 0333 200 5343.

*Ts&Cs apply

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