MK Dons are just one win away from a coveted place in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round draw but boss Robbie Neilson insists his team aren’t getting ahead of themselves.
The Dons take on Maidstone United this weekend, looking to make it past the Second Round of the competition for the sixth season in a row.
Much of the talk in the Neilson's pre-match press conference was about earning a plum tie in the Third Round but the Dons manager was keen to stress that his team's focus is solely on Saturday's test.
“This is a very important round for every team in the competition,” Neilson said. “You can progress into the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup and then you’ve obviously got the opportunity to play a big team and have the chance to go and create an upset.
“First and foremost, though, we have to focus on Saturday’s game and not look that far ahead. We play a difficult team on Saturday who have got some really experienced players and definitely have goals within that team.
“It’s proper Emirates FA Cup football - this is what everyone looks forward to.”
As well as an opportunity reach the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup, Saturday is also a chance for the men from MK1 to build some confidence and momentum ahead of a busy festive schedule – Neilson’s side are looking to bounce back after falling to their first defeat in six games at Doncaster Rovers.
“We’ve got the opportunity to put on a good performance at Stadium MK," Neilson told the media. "We hope that we can do that this Saturday.”
Here’s what else Neilson had to say in his pre-match press conference...
Learning from mistakes made at Doncaster
“We looked very good at the first-half and have taken the positives from that. We played very well and created a lot of chances - we just needed to grab that second goal. We sat back in the second-half and we stopped doing the good things that we were doing in the first-half. For us, it is about finding a way back into the game when things don’t go our way.
“We are always learning because we have a very young squad.”
Rotation over the next week...
“We have decisions to make because we’ve got three games in a week so we need to rotate the squad a little bit.”
Celebrating a year at MK Dons this weekend...
"We’ve had some highs and lows. We came in with a lot of work to do and managed to get ourselves to the end of the season in a good position in the league. We haven’t started this season as well as we would have liked but I feel we’ve started to build a good, young squad.
"We had a huge turnover of players in the summer and we’re trying to bring the average age down and give pathways to the young players. It’s a project that we are still at the beginning of. We’re progressing – we’re where we want to be in the league but definitely progressive in the perspective of recruiting players that will be the future of this Football Club."
Ousseynou Cisse and Osman Sow’s availability...
"Cisse is coming along well and I expect him to be back training with the first team within the next two weeks.
“Osman Sow will take part in some of the training [on Thursday] which is great news for us. I don’t expect him to be ready for the Maidstone [United] or Chelsea [Under-21s] games but, all being well, we will look to get him involved in the squad against Shrewsbury [Town]."
Tickets for Saturday's Emirates FA Cup Second Round tie with Maidstone United are priced from £12 adults, £5 under-18s and just £1 for under-12s, with upgrades available to East Centre and clubRed.
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.