After defeats in the Emirates FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, Paul Tisdale’s MK Dons now have only one aim in sight - promotion from Sky Bet League Two.
Tisdale’s side exited the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday courtesy of a 3-2 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21s at Stadium MK - a result which came just days after they were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup away at Grimsby Town.
The two losses leave just the Sky Bet League Two to concentrate on and Tisdale says all the attention is now on achieving their goal of promotion.
“The league is 100% our focus now,” Tisdale said to the media after Tuesday’s reverse to Brighton.
“[The Emirates FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy] were tournaments we were interested in but they have gone now and we turn our focus to the league.
“We have an obvious objective this year which is promotion back to League One and we are in a good position for it, although there is a long way to go.
“Every moment that has led up to now has given me information on the players and given them information on me. We are putting together more and more ideas.
“We are in a good place but we’re nowhere near a point where we can start feeling good about ourselves.”
Tisdale’s hopes achieving that goal took both a boost and a knock on Tuesday with Conor McGrandles completing an hour in his comeback from an eye injury shortly after Joe Walsh had left the contest after landing awkwardly in first-half stoppage time.
“It was a big success of the night, having Conor back on the pitch,” Tisdale said. “I’m chuffed for him and the medical team, who helped get him through the last few months - both psychologically and physically.
“He played really well in that first half but then tired. He had to come off after the hour because he hasn’t played. He’s nowhere near match fit but I want to get him back involved as soon as I can.”
On Walsh’s status, Tisdale provided the following update: “That was the major disappointment of the night. He landed awkwardly and he’ll have to go for a scan so fingers crossed. Let’s wait and see what the information will be - it’s hard to comment until we really know the significance of the injury.
Here’s what else Tisdale had to say in his post-match press conference...
On the performance...
“We played some good stuff and had some intensity about our play in the first half. We looked really lively. We then tired during the second half but I’m not surprised about that. We had four players who have been playing regularly in the side and the others who came in have been on the periphery and have had a lack of football. We just lost our rhythm and when you get tired you make uncharacteristic mistakes. The game unravelled a little bit but well done to Brighton - they did the opposite to us and built their performance nicely into that second half. I think we have to be careful not to be too disappointed by it although it did feel really disappointing, that second half especially. As much as I don’t like losing a game of football, especially when it feels lacklustre, the reality is there were players out there who hadn’t played enough football and they tired quite considerably in that second period. Am I surprised about that? No. Is it a reminder to us that we have to keep that supporting group of players on their toes and ready? Yes. As I said, it’s disappointing but I don’t want to be too miserable.”
On getting players ready to step in...
“We certainly have to build a squad that has a robust group of players that can step in at a drop of a hat and perform - the next target for me is to push some of these players into form.”
Paul Tisdale's MK Dons will look to return to winning ways on Saturday when they entertain Macclesfield Town at Stadium MK.
Tickets are priced from £22 adults, £17 over-65s and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE with a Young Dons members. Supporters can upgrade their seat to East Centre for just £5 more while an upgrade to clubRed is available for a £10 premium.
To book tickets click HERE, visit the Box Office/cash-only ticket booths or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off.