Robbie Neilson understands the importance of performing at Stadium MK, as his MK Dons side look to return to winning ways in front of the home supporters this weekend.
Neilson’s men entertain Oldham Athletic on Saturday where they’ll be hoping to secure their first victory in four matches and climb back up the Sky Bet League One table.
A bumper crowd is expected at Stadium MK with the Club hosting the first of its two Family Fun Days and Neilson knows that a strong display will have positive effects.
“It’s hugely important for us to build the fanbase,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “It’s going to be vital for this Club moving forward.
"We have a huge stadium here and we want to get to a point where we are filling it. If we can get this place even half-full every week then it becomes an intimidating place for people to come to.
“To help with that, we need to make sure that the football is entertaining and that we score goals so people want to come and watch us. We want the fans to be able to connect with the players as well.
“Hopefully, if we get a good crowd here on Saturday and we perform well, then people will come back.”
In their way of a home victory is a resurgent Oldham Athletic side who, under the guidance of Richie Wellens, arrive in Milton Keynes unbeaten in their last five matches.
Neilson is expecting a tough test but is confident his side can come out on top.
“I know Richie really well – I played with him at Leicester (City). I know the type of character he is and I know he’ll be desperate to do well there.
“He’s gone in there and really turned the boat around. They’ve got a strong squad and they’ll be looking to push up the table.
“If we play our game, though, hopefully we’ll get three points.”
Here’s what else we learnt from Neilson’s pre-match press conference...
Osman Sow’s injury
“We’re really disappointed to lose him. We’ll get a scan today to see the extent of the injury and see where we are but it’s not looking great. Fingers crossed it’s not too bad.”
“It’s a little frustrating but it’s part of football. We’ve got some really good strikers here and it’s up to them to come in and fill that void.”
Peter Pawlett making progress
“Peter’s coming along really well. He’s been out running and we’re looking to build him up in the next few weeks. He won’t be available for the game on Saturday or the Bristol Rovers match and with the Hyde (United) game being on astro it’s not really advisable for him to play on that so we’re looking at, possibly, the Oxford game.
“I do think when Peter comes back he’ll be an important player for us. He’s experienced and he’s got great pace which will suit the pitch we’ve got here. He’s got real quality too and I think him linking with players we’ve got here will make a real difference.
No consistency in terms of players available
“It’s been a frustrating start to the season for us because we can’t seem to get to get any real momentum going – both on the pitch and in terms of getting players fully fit. I think we’re starting to get there although being without Osman will be a blow.”
Three at the back
“I like playing with three at the back and we’ve got the players who can play it. We waited for (Joe) Walsh to come back because he gives us a left-sided centre back and real quality coming out from the back – I think you could see that on Tuesday. My preferred option is three and we’ll run with that at times during the season.”
“It will come. In periods of games we’ve done very well going forward. On Tuesday night there was some really good play – we got into some good areas and there was some good supply into the strikers. We’re having good periods, we’re just not taking advantage of them.
“We need to create more chances but we also need to take them when they come along. We’ve got great faith in these players and the strikers we have here, to score goals.”
Tickets for Saturday's Family Fun Day clash with Oldham Athletic are priced from just £12 adults and £1 under-18s, while under-12s with a Young Dons membership can go FREE. Supporters can upgrade to East Centre for £5 or clubRed for £10.
Before the game, a host of activity will be taking place inside the Arena MK and outside Stadium MK, including a number of fairground rides, inflatables, a hog roast, a circus workshop and the ever-popular mascot race!
To purchase tickets for what is set to be an action-packed afternoon of Family Fun click here, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets for this fixture are available to buy right up until kick-off.