Robbie Neilson understands the importance of the clash with AFC Wimbledon but the goal for the MK Dons boss is the same as it would be for any match – win.
Neilson takes his side down to the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Friday evening looking to register the Club’s first away victory over AFC Wimbledon and, in turn, make it back-to-back league triumphs following the 3-2 success over Rochdale last weekend.
“It’s a huge game for us all,” Neilson said in his pre-match press conference. “We spoke about it straight after the game against Rochdale – yes, it was a great result but the big thing for the Club and for the fans is the game on Friday night and the players understand that.
“We have to make sure we are up for the game and we win our battles but also play our football because we believe that’s what will bring us through in the end.”
He continued: “We’re going down there to win. We want to win every game whether it’s against AFC Wimbledon or against Rochdale – it doesn’t matter we want to win the game because its three points and we’re trying to get up the table to challenge.”
Here’s what else we learnt from Neilson’s pre-match press conference...
Expecting an intense atmosphere
“We’re against a difficult opponent at a difficult venue but you want to play at stadiums where the atmosphere is intense. I felt it was a good atmosphere last year and hopefully we can come through it on Friday.”
“We hope to get Ebanks-Landell back. He’ll do some training (on Wednesday) and then a full session (on Thursday). Hopefully he’ll be in contention to play in the game on Friday night.
“We’ve pushing him hard. He played a reserve game last week and tightened up afterwards, so we felt it wasn’t right (for him to be involved against Rochdale). We had a game (on Tuesday) and I didn’t put him in. He’ll do a light bit of training (on Wednesday) and we hope that we might get him for the bench on Friday.
“Everybody else is as they were.”
Gboly Ariyibi’s development
“He’s getting himself in the box as you could see for the first goal, which then gives him confidence for the second goal. There’s no doubting the ability he’s got for this level. In the attacking third he’s one of the top players in the league.
“Our job is to try and make him into more of a team player and he’s definitely getting better at that – he’s tracking back and he’s helping the full-backs. That will continue to improve as he gets more game time."
This year’s game to be different to last
“We’re going into it with a totally different team. There are very few players who played in last year’s game that will play in this year’s game. AFC Wimbledon are a different team as well – a few players have moved on and they’ve brought a few in as well. It will be a totally different game.”
A first away win over AFC Wimbledon
“It would be great to do it. We didn’t manage to do it last year and we were disappointed with that but this is another opportunity.”
Playing on a Friday night
“It gives us one less day to prepare, which means we have to cram everything in. We had a reserve game (on Tuesday) so some of the boys got a bit of game time. They’re looking good.”