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Interviews

Dons staying in touch during lockdown

Manager Russell Martin on how MK Dons are using their time during lockdown...

15 April 2020

Manager Russell Martin says he and his MK Dons squad are doing what they can to stay in touch during the lockdown period.

Like the rest of the country, MK Dons players and staff are staying at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. They haven’t been together as a group since 13th March, when the EFL’s decision was made to suspend football activity.

“There's a balance we have to keep between being too overbearing with them, but not just leaving them totally alone too,” Martin said in an exclusive interview with MK Citizen.

“We try and have a weekly Zoom meeting, so we can all see each other's faces, and check in on each other. We've got WhatsApp groups with the players, one for the staff, and of course the players have their own little groups too.

“We’ve given them books to read and analysis of their own performances to go over. We've also had had people come and chat with us too about mental health - for me, it's the most important part of the game, even before all of this.

“In any walk of life, people can suffer from mental health issues, and for me, it is so important to make sure people are coping with the pressures in their lives, whether they top of the league, midtable or down at the bottom.

“We've got players who are living on their own, living with their partners, kids, team-mates, or back with their parents so they aren't on their own. It's a really difficult time for everyone, and the players are no different in the respect that everyone is in the same boat.”

From a managerial point of view, Martin has used his time at home wisely.

“I've been doing a lot of analysis of what we've done in the last three or four months and looking at how we can improve on what we've done in the next few months,” he said.

“I've also looked at a lot of players we could potentially recruit – there has been a lot of time for that! Obviously, that will all depend on the state of football when we can get going again and the finances available, whether we come out of it strongly or not as strong as we'd have liked.

“I'm so thankful that we've got a chairman and an infrastructure in place that means we can hopefully come out of this as best as possible, but we won't really know what sort of business we can do in the next window.

“A lot of clubs will be in difficult positions over the next few months so we may have to be flexible.”


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