Robbie Neilson will make changes to his starting XI for tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy tie but the MK Dons boss insists the focus is still on winning the match.
Neilson’s men are second in the Group G table having won their opening match of the competition and a victory tonight could see them qualify for the knockout stages if Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21s fail to beat Oxford United.
With success in the Checkatrade Trophy of importance to Neilson this season, the Dons boss is looking for his changed, but still experienced side to come out on top this evening and continue what has been an excellent run of results.
“I still see (the Checkatrade Trophy) as an opportunity for the players who haven’t been involved to get game-time but it’s important we take it seriously,” he told iFollow MK Dons ahead of tonight’s tie.
“As the season progresses and as we progress, hopefully, in this competition, we’ll look to try and make a run. Fans want to see their teams getting to finals at Wembley so we want to try and do that but we have to balance it off with the league, which is our number one priority.”
He added: “We’ll be strong and we’ll try and get a good result.”
One player who will feature from the start is attacker Chuks Aneke, who made his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury in Saturday’s win at Bury – tonight will be his first start in a competitive fixture in over seven months.
“It’s about getting as much game-time as we can out of him, at this stage. We’ve made the decision that he will start the game against Stevenage so it’s an opportunity for him to get that first start.
“We hope to give him the first half an hour or, at a push, 40 minutes.”
Alongside Aneke in tonight’s starting XI will be a number of first-team players who have seen their game-time limited in recent weeks.
Boss Neilson views the tie as the perfect opportunity for those Dons to play and impress.
“It’s an opportunity for us to give the guys who haven’t been playing a bit more game time. There’s one younger player (in the starting XI) but the rest of them are all experienced professionals but as the game progresses we’ll get some more of the younger players on.”
Tickets for tonight's Checkatrade Trophy tie with Stevenage at Stadium MK are priced from just £5 adults and £1 under-18s, while under-12s can book for FREE. Supporters can upgrade to clubRed for £5.
To book tickets click here, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343.