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Fixture News

What we learnt: Robbie’s Oxford presser

Manager reflects on Deadline Day and looks ahead to Saturday's match...

2 September 2017

Neilson’s summer overhaul of the squad is complete with 12 new signings arriving at Stadium MK, including three who made the switch on Deadline Day.

The focus now for the men from MK1 is on collecting points in Sky Bet League One and they’ll look to begin that push this afternoon when they face Oxford United at Stadium MK.

“We knew that summer would be a huge window for us, to re-shape the squad and bring a bit more energy and youth,” Neilson said in his pre-match press conference. “I think we’ve gone from one of the oldest squads to probably one of the youngest.

“It’s taken a little bit of time to get there but I’m happy with what we’ve got. Now we know what we’ve got, it’s a case of sticking together and winning football matches.”

“We’ve had a difficult start but we’ve also had a tough start. We’ve played against two teams who have come out of the Championship and retained their full squad.

“We’re going into a run of games where we hope to pick up points and get ourselves back up the table. I expect us to start pushing up now.”

Here’s what else Neilson had to say in Friday’s press conference...
Busy Deadline Day...
“It was quite busy. We did a little bit of work. We brought Aidan in early and then managed to get the other two over the line later on. I’m really pleased to get them all in. They will bolster the squad and give us good quality.”

Scott Golbourne...
“We were always looking to recruit a left-back. We’ve been looking at several and Scott was one of them. It took a lot of time to get there but we’re delighted to get him. He’s played the last few years at Championship level with Wolves and Bristol City. He’s won promotion out of League One as well. I think he gives us great experience there.”

Golbourne’s impact on Dean Lewington...
“Dean will still be involved and play here. He’s a huge part of the Club and he’s a huge part of the dressing room as well. I just felt we had to have more depth at that position.”

Alex Gilbey...
“He’s one we’ve been looking at for a while.. He’s a good player and he ticks loads of boxes for us. He’s 22 years old and he’s been a captain at Colchester (United). He played from a young age and got a good move to the Championship with Wigan (Athletic). He got an injury last season and it didn’t quite work out for him there. He wasn’t involved quite as much as he would have liked this season so we’ve managed to get him out of there. I think he’ll be a massive addition to the Club because he brings energy and pace. He has the ability to carry the ball from central areas. I think one of the reasons why he wanted to come here is because he would have the opportunity to do that. He brings real hunger as well – having spoke to him, he’s desperate to do well here.”

Aidan Nesbitt...
“I know him from my time up in Scotland when he was one of the best young players coming through at Scotland. His career stalled a little bit after the new manager come in at Celtic – he wasn’t really involved but he’s been out on loan and done really well. The opportunity came up to get him and I think he’ll add that spark to the team. You need to be able to look to the bench and have a player who can really change a game in the last 10 to 15 minutes – I think he’s got that in his locker. I don’t expect him to playing week in and week out but he’ll be round and about the first team. He’s only a young kid but he’s played a lot of football and played in some big environments too. I think it’s a good addition to the group because he’s got huge potential.”

Paul Downing moving to Blackburn...
“I spoke to Paul at the end of last season and told him what my plans would be this season – I planned to bring in another centre-half, Scott Wootton was due to come back, we were planning to bring in another left-back and I knew Callum Brittain could step up as well. There were a few things that came up for him which he didn’t feel were right. Then, a couple of days ago there was a sniff from Blackburn and it escalated from there.”

Financial outlay this summer...
“We have a budget and we work within that budget. It’s how you use the budget that determines how well we do. We have made sure we get quality in, along with depth. There are a lot of good young players who have a pathway to come through as well.”

Missed targets...
“There always are (missed targets). There were a few that we tried extremely hard to get but couldn’t. Two of them went to a higher level and one of them went to a similar level but you have to accept that sometimes – teams will sometimes pay vastly inflated wages. Overall, though, I’m really pleased with what we’ve got.”

Eager to get players back from injury...
“They are all key players for us. Kieran was top goalscorer for us last year, Aneke and Osman are guys who can make a difference in the forward areas and Joe is a Wales international. We know we’re missing these guys but we’ve got quality that can come in. We have competition for places and there’s pressure on the players on the pitch to perform because they know they’ve got good players on the bench.”

Osman Sow’s injury...
“He tweaked his thigh but we expect him to start training next week. We could have possibly risked him for this week but we just feel he’s too much of a key player – it’s important we get him back fully fit.”

Joe Walsh’s injury...
“Joe’s got a little problem with his knee so I expect him to be out for another two to three weeks.”

Positive news on Agard...
“Kieran’s good. He’s back running so he’ll be in contention for Saturday.”

Chuks Aneke still on target...
“He’s doing great. We’ve got a reserve game on Monday and he’ll get a bit of game time in that. We’ll slowly build him up from there.”

New signings could feature...
“They’ve all been playing football and all three have gone through pre-seasons so they are in shape to come in and influence the game.”

Outlook on Oxford...
“They’ve started really well. They scored a lot of goals in midweek and they’ve got real quality in the attacking areas. I can see what Pep (Clotet) is trying to do with them – they are very aggressive in the way they press, they play high lines and when they win the ball they flood the midfield areas. We know what we have to do to try and combat that. We hope to put a good performance on and get three points.”


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