Paul Tisdale insists everybody is working hard to ensure MK Dons can maintain their excellent league form.
Following a two-week break due to the Emirates FA Cup, the Dons return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday when they take on Macclesfield Town at Stadium MK.
Tisdale’s side have picked up 19 points from a possible 21 since the start of October, form which has seen them climb to second in the Sky Bet League Two and move to within a result of leaders Lincoln City.
The task, therefore, is for the Dons to maintain that form against the Silkmen and Tisdale believes both the management team and the players are working tirelessly to make sure that happens.
“One of our major topics of discussion is how we maintain our form week after week,” he said in his pre-match press conference.
“It’s a responsibility of us, as coaches, to create the right tone week in and week out but it’s also down to the players to maintain that focus. It’s about all of us focusing on being successful this season.
He continued: “If you’d have asked me in July, I would have been happy with being in the top third but there aren’t too many points between first and eighth and we’re just over a third of the way through the season. The margins are so fine between winning two or three games and losing two or three games.”
MK Dons’ opponents on Saturday, Macclesfield Town, sit bottom of the Sky Bet League Two table but have taken points off some of the top sides in the division this season. Tisdale and his team are certainly treating them with the utmost respect.
“We mustn’t forget that the opponents are professional people and their own pride and careers to look after. What if this Saturday is the best performance they put in so far? That’s how we have to think.”
Here’s what else Tisdale had to say in his pre-match press conference…
‘Every chance’ Walsh misses out but Moore-Taylor to return
“He’s sore and he’s not trained. We hope it’s not a serious injury but we won’t know until we’ve had the results of his scan. There is every chance he’ll be missing from this game on Saturday but until I’m told that by the Physio, I’ll be hoping he may be. But, Jordan Moore-Taylor is fit and ready to go - there’s no better understudy than Jordan.”
Strength in depth important
“We do have cover defensively. Strength in depth allows you to be more bold and progressive with how you coach team, knowing you have that back-up there and available. That’s been the strength of our squad so far - we can be aggressive with our thoughts and how we play because we know we’ve got good players on the fringe ready to come in. It’s important that the players know the team can change quite quickly. Yes, we’ve got an established team at the moment but we give everybody a fair opportunity and there’s always a route back in. It can so quickly change in football - whether that’s an injury or a lack of form. Sometimes you might find yourself not on the bench but you’re actually closer to starting a game - they just can’t fit on the bench for a particular game.”
Osman nearing a return
“Osman is training and he has been training for a couple of weeks. We’ve had discussions today about when we re-introduce him into the matchday squad - that’s a positive. I think it’s also a positive that we don’t feel we need to do it. The front three are playing really well and we’ve got backup. I don’t believe Simon Crampton and Osman have had the opportunity before to pick and choose when he’s re-introduced. I don’t think it will be long before we’re making a decision to include him.
Peter working through a niggle
“Like a lot of players who have been out injured for a while, Peter Pawlett has picked up a niggle - it’s what happens when you come back and you’re flying around. He’s working through that and I’m hoping he’ll be fit within the next week to 10 days - that’s the plan.”
Still no Harley or Baudry
“Ryan Harley and Mathieu Baudry are not quite there yet. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed on them.”
January Transfer Window plans being drawn up
“We were talking about the January window before the August window even closed. With football, you are continually assessing the next six days but also the next six weeks, and six months. We need to have an idea how we are going to build and develop a team. Our thoughts have changed since August a little based on performances and injuries. I’d like to think we can be active in January with looking at players who can enhance this season and be part of the project we want to succeed with other next two or three years.”
Ouss given the best opportunity to impress
“I haven’t told Ouss to do anything different. I didn’t see him play last season, obviously. I just spoke to him really nicely and politely about how he wants to play - like any player, I ask them how the game fits them. I like to know what their strengths and weaknesses are and then amplify those strengths and, I’m sure they won’t mind me saying, hide their weaknesses because every player has weaknesses. I’ve done my very best to give him, and the rest of the team, the opportunity to play their best football. I’m reasonable with the players - I can’t promise them anything apart from that I will let them know how they are getting on and that I will be civil with them.”