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What we learnt: Robbie's Walsall presser

The main talking points from the manager's pre-match press conference...

17 October 2017

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Robbie Neilson is targeting a successful week at Stadium MK, as his MK Dons side prepare to play the first of their back-to-back home matches tonight against Walsall.

Neilson’s men were beaten 2-0 by Portsmouth last weekend and will want to get back in the win column this evening against the Saddlers, before they turn their attention to another big Sky Bet League One clash at the weekend against Oldham Athletic.

“These games are hugely important,” Neilson said in his pre-match press conference.

“We hoped to go into the Portsmouth game and pick up three points from that but we’ve still got six points to play for this week – if you can do that through the course of the season then you’ll be there or thereabouts.”

“The league is still extremely tight and two or three wins can get you into the play-offs. It’s about finding consistency for us now because we’re starting to get players back and fully fit –hopefully we can start carrying that through and get the results we want.”

Although confident in his side’s ability to come out on top tonight, that isn’t to say the Dons boss is taking tonight’s opponents lightly.

“Their front three are very good and they have good pace with the two strikers,” he noted.

“They have got (Erhun) Oztumer as a ‘10’ who is very dangerous on his left side – we have to be very wary of that and make sure we don’t give him in any space or give away free-kicks around the box.

“However, if we work hard and play as well as we can then we’ll be hopeful of getting three points.”

Here’s what else we learnt from Neilson’s pre-match press conference...

Portsmouth reflection
“Obviously we were disappointed with aspects of the game but in this league, you have to move on very quickly to the next one. We’ve got a big game (on Tuesday) and we need to make sure we get a win.”

Recent defensive displays
“We were down to 10 men against Bradford after just four minutes so it was always going to be difficult. Against Portsmouth, we were poor but the goals came from individual errors which I’d expect the players not to do that often.

“We had a great run of form and then a difficult week. We have to move on quickly from that and get back to that good play and good form again.”

Callum Brittain’s status
“He’s still getting treatment so we’ll asses him. I’ll probably make a decision late before the game.”

Chuks Aneke’s game-time
“With any player that’s coming back from injury, you want to bring them back gradually but ultimately he is one of our key players so we have to try and push him as hard as we can

“It’s about finding the balance between the two. The job for myself, the physio department and the fitness team is to make sure we get him back as quickly as possible without getting any injuries.”

Hold-up play
“The issue at Portsmouth was when it was going up to the striker, it wasn’t being held up – that’s a key part of our game as it provides a platform for us to build from. We can’t build the play from the back only to play it to the striker and have it given away – you then lose total momentum, which is what happened on Saturday.”


Tickets for tonight's clash with Walsall at Stadium MK are priced from just £10 adults and £5 under-18s. Supporters can upgrade to East Centre for a £5 premium or clubRed for a £10 premium. Under-12 Young Dons (Plus members) still go FREE.

What’s more, groups of 20 or more that book tickets at a discounted rate of £10 adults and £3 under-18s - click here for more information.

To book tickets click here, visit the Box Office or call 01908 622988. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off.

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