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Interviews

Jackson's focus on short and long-term targets

Head Coach Mark Jackson on his arrival at Stadium MK...

24 December 2022

Mark Jackson is excited to have the opportunity to lead MK Dons and is eager to get started in helping the Club achieve its short- and long-term goals.

Jackson was appointed Head Coach of MK Dons on Friday, arriving from Leeds United where he had previously held coaching roles within the Academy, Under-23s and first-team set-up.

The 45-year-old is no stranger to the EFL either, having enjoyed a 20-year playing career, featuring for clubs such as Leeds, Huddersfield Town, Barnsley and Scunthorpe United.

Jackson says his immediate aim is to help MK Dons improve on their current standing of 22nd in Sky Bet League One but also harbours ambitions to bring success to Stadium MK in the future.

“It’s been a hectic few days but my emotions are of pure excitement,” Jackson said in his first interview with iFollow MK Dons. “I want to come to this Football Club and help to build something special.

“In the short term, we know what the targets are and what we need to do in order to achieve that, but it's clear to see that this is a Club that has the togetherness to get out of the situation we are in and achieve good things in the future.

“I've done a lot of work, and I will continue to do a lot of work, to assess and review things here and I’ll also be leaning on the people already here to draw on their experiences as they have lived it – I’ll look to bring all that together.

“What helps is the Club has got clear identity and it’s an identity that fits with my idea of how the game should be played. There are certain areas where I think I can bring my expertise and enhance it.

“Hopefully people will see my influence on the team in the short term and then building for that longevity as well. We've got a busy few days and weeks ahead it's something I’m looking forward to and I’m ready for the challenge.”

Over a seven-year spell, Jackson rose through the coaching ranks at Elland Road, progressing from working with the Under-15s to becoming the Under-23s lead in 2021 and then part of Jesse Marsch’s first-team coaching team in March of this year.

Reflecting on his time in Yorkshire, he said: “I’ve had some fantastic experiences, particularly over recent years working under the two managers that were there, most recently Jesse.

“I've worked with some world-renowned managers and, as a person who wants to better himself and learn everyday, I’ve always look to draw from those experiences. I've got a lot of valuable experience dealing with young players and playing in a way which kind of fits with the identity of this Club.

“Ultimately, being a Head Coach is what I’ve always wanted to do and my time studying at Leeds, working through the Academy and ultimately then the first team, is the journey I’ve been on to get me here.

“I feel the time is right for me to have this next step and to have the challenge of being a head coach, and I feel this Club is right for me too - the identity and everything about the Club fits with me perfectly.”

Jackson doesn’t have to wait too long to make his MK Dons bow, with the Boxing Day fixture against Forest Green Rovers presenting a first opportunity for him to meet the Club’s supporters at Stadium MK.

“I can't wait for Monday to come,” he told iFollow MK Dons. “This time of year is always fantastic for football and football fans and, personally, I'm ready to be here at home and meet everybody.

“One of my values is based around connecting with people and that’s not just people in the Club but the community and the supporters too - that's really important to me.

“The fans are really important to Club – they behind the team, they can support the Club in difficult times and, at the end of the day, when players and staff come and go, it’s the fans who always be there.

“I want to engage with them and I want to engage with the community so I can commit to the project fully and give my 100% commitment to that and helping the club build and move forward.”

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Watch Mark Jackson's first game in charge of MK Dons on Boxing Day when his side face Forest Green Rovers at Stadium MK.

Tickets are priced from £24 adults, £18 over-65s, £12 under-25s and £6 under-18s while under-12s and under-7s tickets are priced from £3. Upgrades are available to East Centre and Club Red. Ticket prices will increase by £2 on the day of the game.

To book tickets CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622933. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off from the Box Office.


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