The main talking points from Robbie Neilson’s Thursday press conference...
Robbie Neilson confirmed that Paul Downing has returned to training following an injury which kept him out of the Emirates FA Cup tie with Brighton & Hove Albion.
Dean Bowditch, meanwhile, remains on course for a comeback in early February, with the forward making steady progress in his rehabilitation on a calf injury.
Dons in ‘advanced talks’ with targets
Neilson revealed that the Club are in advanced talks with potential January additions.
The Scotsman also told the media he’d be meeting a target on Thursday.
“I’m meeting a player (on Thursday) and we are in advanced talks with others as well. It’s just about getting them over the line.”
Once again, though, Neilson stressed the importance of bringing in the ‘right players’, admitting he’s willing to wait in order to sign the best.
“The most important thing is that it’s good players who are coming in and we’re still working to do that.
“I don’t want to just jump in and take any player who’s available. A lot of players are available but we’re looking for the right ones and if that means it takes a little bit longer then that’s got to be done.”
“We’ve got a little period now where we’re going Saturday to Saturday which allows us to really work during the week – getting the players working hard and prepared.”
“The league is the most important thing for any club at the start of the season and now we can just focus on that.
Following their Emirates FA Cup exit last weekend, Sky Bet League One is the only competition left to focus on for the Dons – Neilson believes that will be a benefit.
Focus solely on the league
“I expect him to continue the good work that’s gone on here and hopefully take it to another level.”
“I worked with John at Hearts for four to five years,” Neilson said. “He’s a very good strength and conditioning coach and he’s very well renowned in Scotland and down here in England from an educational side of it as well.
Neilson added another member to his backroom team earlier this week in John Hill, who will take on the role of Head of Sports Science.
Hill to strengthen sports science department
The 36-year-old manager said: “If we can recruit well and bring the guys in that we want to, I still think we’ve got a really good chance of getting into the play-offs.”
With just under half the season remaining, the Dons find themselves 12 points adrift of the top six in Sky Bet League One but that hasn’t stopped Neilson and his side from maintaining their aim of a play-off finish in 2016/17.
Play-off ambitions remain
"Ben's attitude, just like every other player, has been fantastic. I have no issues at the moment.”
“He’s one of the key players here for us at the moment. It’s important that we keep players here who we feel can help to progress the Club. We’ve spoke to Ben and he knows my thoughts but it's the players' prerogative to play as well as he can and see what's there.
A lot has been made about potential incomings at Stadium MK but one name that has been linked with a move away is midfielder Ben Reeves – Neilson addressed the transfer talk on Thursday.