Dean Lewington insists MK Dons still can’t ignore the threat below them, despite Saturday’s win moving them 13 points clear of the bottom three.
The Dons beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Stadium MK to maintain their unbeaten run and extend their gap over 21st-placed Tranmere Rovers by a further three points.
Lewington, though, says the aim is still to avoid the drop and, only after that is secured, will attentions turn to bigger and better things.
“We want to keep moving away from the bottom and it was a good opportunity to do that today,” the captain said in his post-match press conference after the victory.
“We're just three points closer to where we want to be. It shows how much trouble we were in when Russ took over, that after six wins out of seven at home we’re still only 18th – it is quite surprising.
“We need to keep going until it's mathematically impossible to go down. We want to keep building, but we want to get to safety and assess where we are first.
“We are looking up, and there are teams we think we can catch, but we're only a couple of results away from looking over our shoulders again.
“The first results we go in and check are those teams behind us, so our aim is to make sure we're not even in contention with the last month or so to go.”
Saturday’s win over Bolton Wanderers came despite the Dons not being at their fluent best, with the battling Trotters’ set-up making things difficult for Russell Martin’s men to break them down.
Lewington praised the resilience and patience of the team, for sticking to their game plan and taking their chance when it came along.
“Bolton came here with nothing to lose, and they've got good players – they're not what you expect for a team at the bottom of the league. They can be a tough nut to crack sometimes.
“As we've improved, teams won't come here and go all out and attack. We've earned that respect, and it means teams will sit back and games could turn into a bit of a slow burner.
“The first half wasn't the greatest, there wasn’t a lot going on, but there is a reason to what we do - we try to make the opposition tired, moving them around and opening them up.
“We've been working on our all-round game, and defensively we've been much better recently but we haven't had a clean sheet in a long time. We limited them to very little in the end and it was nice to get one.
“It's massive for us to know that if we keep it tight at the back, we've got guys like Rhys [Healey] up front to stick it away at the other end.
“He has a knack of scoring - he's a natural finisher. It's not always the nicest of strikes or textbook finishes but he's usually in the right place at the right time.”
Dean Lewington and MK Dons are back in Sky Bet League One action this Tuesday night when they travel to Fratton Park to take on Portsmouth.
Tickets, which must be bought in advance of the game from MK Dons, are priced at £24 adults, £18 seniors, £16 young adults and £7 juniors.
Official Away travel is available for this fixture, with coach spaces priced at £19 Season Ticket holders/members and £20 all other supporters. Coaches will depart Stadium MK at 3pm.
To book tickets/travel click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available from the Club until midday on Tuesday.
Can't make the game? Supporters will be able to watch this match live on iFollow MK Dons for just £10 - click HERE to purchase a Video Match Pass!