Russell Martin is pleased with where his side are physically, as they prepare to head into a busy stretch of games.
After facing Crewe Alexandra on Saturday, Martin’s MK Dons will face a run of eight matches in five weeks, including long trips to Portsmouth and Blackpool as well as midweek matches against Stevenage, in the EFL Trophy, Oxford United and Wigan Athletic.
“October is going to be a really busy month so we need to make sure we find the right balance,” Martin said in his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s trip to the Alexandra Stadium.
“We’re really pleased with where they are at. The physical stats this season have been much higher than last, and they are in a much better place than they were last year.
“Some people came back in really great condition after lockdown, but it’s different because they were no gyms and they couldn’t play football.
“They had a great base fitness level but needed the training every day and the stiffness and tiredness that comes with it.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work and planning into it, and now it’s about maintaining that and pushing them to their physical limits.”
He added: “We’ve got a nearly fully fit squad to pick from, which is great news. Everyone is fit aside from Louis T[hompson] and Kieran [Agard] but Louis will be integrated into the squad next week and Kieran will be back running.
“It’s testament to the lads for looking after their body and they all want to stay fit for the season.”
One player who is healthy but still working on his fitness is summer signing Scott Fraser, who made his debut off the bench in last Saturday’s match with Lincoln City.
Fraser arrived at Stadium MK having spent pre-season without a club, hence the need to build-up towards full fitness, but Martin believes his new midfielder is getting close to being able to make a real impact.
“Scott is looking more and more impressive every day in training,” he said. “I’m impressed with his intensity and willingness to improve – he’s really onboard with what we are doing.
“It’ll probably be too much to ask for him to start as we don’t want to open him up to a possible injury but he’s getting closer.”
MK Dons face Crewe Alexandra on Saturday and supporters can watch the match LIVE on iFollow MK Dons by purchasing a Video Match Pass for just £10.
Click HERE and select Buy A Video Match Pass to sign up ahead of the weekend!