Paul Tisdale is happy with his side’s recent form and current league position but the MK Dons manager won’t be satisfied unless they are in a similar spot come May 2019.
Tisdale’s Dons are second in the Sky Bet League Two table following an October run which saw them win five in a row and then pick up a valuable point away at in-form Mansfield Town.
They are now just two points adrift of Lincoln City, who they trailed by 10 points at one stage in mid-September.
“Five wins and a draw is a pretty good return but we are by no means satisfied,” Tisdale said in his pre-match press conference. “We won’t be unless we finish the season in a similar position.
“The task now is to continue the form. We've seen our fortunes take a positive step in the last month but it can easily go the other way - it can slow down as quickly as it took off for us.
“We have to be pragmatic and, as much as you try to spin the positives, you must keep yourself focused on what you can improve and ultimately it's about getting the points.”
MK Dons will be looking to maintain their excellent form on Saturday when they travel to Crawley Town but they will be in for a tough afternoon against a Red Devils side who boast the third-best home record in the division.
“Crawley are a good football side,” Tisdale said of this weekend’s opponents.
“I know they've had a manager change but they've continued with a good style of football. They have the ability to score goals against the better teams in the league - they beat Newport [County] convincingly at home
"They've shown they're very effective at home and we have to be ready for every challenge they bring."
Here’s what else Tisdale had to say in his pre-match press conference....
On when his side will be a finished product...
“You never finish. You're always trying to develop and whenever you get close, something always comes along, something changes - a player gets injured or the opposition change the way they play. It’s all about being adaptable. I don't think we ever get to that point where we are a finished product but we've made really good ground. We've done it in a strategic way, one step at a time. I've not tried to do everything in the first few weeks. It gives me confidence that the players take on-board what I ask, they apply it. We're getting the results and it gives the whole environment a positive feel.”
On Sam Nombe joining Oxford City on loan...
“We've got a large squad - probably more than we’d ordinarily have, which is the legacy of the change of management and contracts - and as a result of that, some players miss out on game-time. Sam is one of those but he's a talented player with potential. He's gone to Oxford to get game time, but he will train with us during the week and he will keep his development going.”
On the injured players...
“They're all making progress - some better than others. Essentially they're all a step closer from where they were last week and it won’t be long before one or two will be at least on the bench. That's really good news for everyone. We've got a good settled side, but more quality players, pushing the players in the squad working hard, the better.”
On Lee Nicholls’ comments about conceding twice last month...
“It's a fundamental focus of any player to do the very best you can. He did concede two goals, one was deflected and one was a thunderbolt, but we always go through the process of asking whether someone could do better. Maybe we do better and the the ball still goes in the net but we have to push ourselves. In those instances, those two goals, I'd suggest there were things we could have done better. Lee has to ask that, as do the defenders in front of him. Our standards have to be so high and we have to push ourselves. It's a good mindset to have.”
Tickets for Saturday's clash with Crawley Town, available in either standing or seated areas, are priced from £16 adults, £12 seniors, £11 under-21s, £10 under-18s and £4 under-16s while under-11s can watch for just £1.
Tickets can now only be bought at the Checkatrade Stadium from either the Ticket Office (cash and card) or the Ticket Cabin (cash only).
Can’t make the game? iFollow MK Dons subscribers can listen to live commentary of the game – click HERE to sign up for as little as £4.49 for a month.