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What we learnt: Robbie’s presser

20 January 2017

Here are the key talking points from Robbie Neilson’s Thursday press conference...

Robbie reunites with Robbie
Robbie Neilson spoke about his first signing as MK Dons manager, Heart of Midlothian forward Robbie Muirhead – a player who he’s attempted to sign three times, being successful on two occasions.

“I know Robbie really well. First of all, when I was at Hearts, I tried to take him from Kilmarnock but Dundee United paid good money for him and we couldn’t do it, couldn’t get to that fee.

“We did manage to get him out of Dundee United in the summer, which was great, and he did really well for us. When I left he was one of the key players there.”

Neilson continued: “He’s got real potential. He’s desperate to progress his career and I think he’s realised the next step is to come down here and show everyone what he can do.”

Neilson won’t rush Muirhead
While excited to secure Muirhead’s services, did stress how important it is to be patient with the Scotland youth international, who is 21 in March.

“He started off phenomenally well as a young kid and got himself a really good move to Dundee United. They had a lot of problems up there and they changed their manager two or three times which meant he fell away a little bit.

“We managed to get him out and kick-start his career a little bit but it took him time to settle in (at Hearts) which I think will be the case here as well because he’s still a young boy.

“I expect him to be in and out of the team at the start.”

Stadium MK surface to benefit Muirhead’s style
Neilson told the media how he feels his new recruit will benefit from playing at Stadium MK.

“With the size of the pitch we’ve got here and the surface we have, we need players who can carry ball and he’s certainly someone who can do it.”

Robbie not ready to lead the line
Given his young age and raw talent, Neilson admitted that his new forward is more likely to feature as a secondary striker or out wide early on in his Dons career.

“At the moment, I wouldn’t class him as an out-and-out striker. He’s six-foot-three, he’s quick and he’s got good physicality but he’s still a young boy and I don’t think he’s ready yet to lead the line for us.

“I see him more as someone who could play in a two, or play in the wide areas behind that.”

More on the way
The Dons aren’t done at one. Neilson told the media that he and the recruitment are working hard to add more players to the squad before the close of the window in 10 days' time.

“We’re still working away,” he said. “I’d like to get a few more in.”

Disappointment at Port Vale postponement
Thursday was the first opportunity for Neilson to discuss last weekend’s postponement with the media – the Scotsman revealed his frustration, with the game now likely to take place during an already busy Spring period.

“The problem we’ve got now is that game is going to be put into midweek somewhere but in February we’ve got seven games in 24 days or something like that and then we go into March and we’ve got a couple of midweek games as well.

“It makes the recruitment that much more important as we’re going to need bodies to get through that.”

Neilson expecting a ‘physical’ Northampton side
Northampton Town will be under new management this weekend but Neilson is still expecting the Cobblers to play with a physical edge – something the Dons defenders will need to be wary of.

“They are a strong and physical side with good strikers at his level. Our defence needs to be top notch mentally but also physically and we need to stand up to it.

“If we can do that then the ability we’ve got should shine through.”

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