MK Dons enter the second half of the season as one of the form sides in Sky Bet League One, but remain in ‘catch-up’ mode after a slow start to the 2020/21 campaign.
Over the last 10 games, the Dons rank 11th in the division with 15 points to their name courtesy of four wins, three draws and only three defeats.
However, Russell Martin’s men currently sit five places lower in the Sky Bet League One table, largely down to the fact that they went five games without a victory to start the season.
“It is frustrating,” Martin said in his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s trip to Rochdale. “Our league position is a cause of frustration but there are a lot of factors as to why we are where we are.
“When you look at the games against the teams near the top, we’ve competed well - taking four points off Sunderland shows that. We just didn’t do well enough when playing against teams around us early on.
“We also didn’t look dangerous enough away from home early on and we haven’t been able to have our strongest XI on the pitch all the time either.
“Fortunately, there are a lot of games left and a lot of points to play for. Performances continue to be very, very good - we just need to get a few more results.”
The Dons have been battling for consistency while trying to reshape a squad, with 12 new arrivals through the door at Stadium MK this term and 13 key contributors from the 2019/20 season departing the Club.
“The team has changed dramatically in a year but I’m really pleased with the work we’ve done,” Martin said. “It feels like our squad and more of what I see us being about.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on recruitment, identifying players who can play the way we want to play and players who also have room to improve. It’s taken us two real windows to shape the squad and I’m really pleased with how it’s taking shape.
“We have a young and hungry squad that has a sprinkle of experience. We have players who are robust and hungry to do well and that’s what excites me. We have so much potential, we just have to make sure they realise it to their maximum.”
MK Dons will be looking to maintain their good form when they take on Rochdale tonight at the Crown Oil Arena.
In contrast, their opponents have picked up just three wins in their last 15 league matches, and are without a home win in 10, but despite the stats, Martin is still fully expecting a testing evening.
“There isn’t an easy game in this league,” he said. “Rochdale are a very good side, who gave us a really good game last year.
“I have so much respect for their manager and how they play. Some of their games have been very entertaining so we need to make sure we need build on our recent performances, if we are to come out on top.”
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