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Fixture News

Alexander: Create a positive home atmosphere

Head Coach Graham Alexander looks ahead to MK Dons' Stadium MK clash with Tranmere Rovers...

11 August 2023

Fixture News

Alexander: Create a positive home atmosphere

Head Coach Graham Alexander looks ahead to MK Dons' Stadium MK clash with Tranmere Rovers...

11 August 2023

Graham Alexander wants his MK Dons squad to give the supporters something to get behind at Stadium MK this season, starting Saturday when they kick-off their home league campaign against Tranmere Rovers.

The Dons face Tranmere at the weekend, eager to build on their 5-3 triumph over Wrexham and secure successive league victories in their opening two games of the season for the first time since 2018.
“We want to start off our league campaign here with a win,” Head Coach Alexander said in his pre-match press conference.
“I want us to create an atmosphere here, within the team, that the supporters can hook into. It’s a two-way street – the supporters can help us with the noise they create but we also have to give them something to create that noise.
“At Wrexham, during the warm-up, all I could hear was our fans singing songs and we used that as some inspiration going out – we didn’t want to let them down after that show of loyalty. We wanted to reward them for their support.
“Other times, we’ll have to trigger that. Here at Stadium MK, it’s going to be important that we create an atmosphere and intensity within the team and if we do that, the supporters will respond to that.
“It was a brilliant to be a part of that at Wrexham, everyone must have got a buzz off that connection last week and we must work hard to maintain that. The first game was a great start but we want to continue that and bring this football community together.”
Alexander will hope to see more of the same from his team following last weekend’s victory over Wrexham – a game in which they scored five goals and led by an advantage of two or more from the ninth minute.
Reflecting again on the victory, and what it means for his team moving forwards, Alexander said: “We were maybe surprised with the scoreline, because 5-3 isn’t a normal result away from home, but the win didn’t surprise me.
“The results in pre-season weren’t anything to write home about but it was all about the process of building a team. I just wanted to see continued progress in their mentality, the physical output, their tactical game and their teamwork – all the things that enable you to have success over a 10-month period.
“Now we’ve got down to the league games, we’re in a need-to-win mentality and you need results to verify that development, so it was a brilliant and valuable three points and it’s a building block for the mindset as well.
“The game is about winning. It has so many offshoots of positive feeling and motivation. It breeds a lot of good habits and that’s what we’re trying to instil here – daily good habits. One good result doesn’t mean the work stops, though.
“What gives me real excitement, is that I don’t think we’re the finished article yet. It’s a good stop in the right direction but there is still more to come.”

MK Dons will remain without Dean Lewington this weekend owing to the injury he sustained during pre-season while Matthew Dennis also remains sidelined, though he is closer than his captain to being back involved.
“Dean is still a couple of weeks away from starting training again,” Alexander confirmed. “We’ve seen Matt Dennis around the periphery of our training pitch and I think he’ll be back sooner but he missed a large part of pre-season so he’s got some work to do before he’s available for selection.”

Here is what else Graham Alexander had to say in his pre-match press conference...

On team's togetherness...
“Football is team sport – that’s a big thing that I believe in. You achieve nothing without coming together. The best teams that I played for, the ones that I wanted to be a part of, were where we were all together. It’s really important for us to great that strong bond.

“With that output on Saturday, it wasn’t just down to their physicality but also their menatity and being able to look around and see 10 others not wanted to let eachother down. We’ll need that to continue to be successful this season because there will be games where we have to grind out a win or win solely down to our mentality.

“The early signs that they want to be together and they believe in each other. You can never take your eye off that and we have to continue working at it. I want players who love being part of this group. We’re starting to see that forming.”

On adding to the squad...
“We’re in the market for more than just a striker. We don’t just think a striker will fix everything. We want competition across the team so we have that ability at 65-70 minutes to improve the performance.

“The modern game is a squad game and not just about the starting XI. We want to have competition and variable options to be able to play in any particular game.

“That work is ongoing, speaking to Liam (Sweeting) every day and the Chairman a few times a week about what we can do to help this group of players be successful.

“Some of the younger players have to step up to that level, understanding what it takes to win in league football and compete with the season players to push them out of the team. We also need to recruit, not massive numbers but enough to improve.”

On potential for departures...
“We’ll always keep an open mind. There are players we definitely want to keep and then there are players on the periphery who will either step up to the plate or see the futures elsewhere. We don’t want players who don’t want to be here and if there are players who want to move on, they will have a valuation for them.

“We don’t know what is around the corner but we have a core group of players that we are really excited about and we know we can win with. It’s down to the players – it’s a meritocracy here, so if you can help us win a game then you have a chance of playing. You can’t just wait for your turn, you’ve got to earn it by the way you play and train.”

On facing Tranmere Rovers...
“If we think the level of opposition will change drastically each week, then we’re wrong. We have to be at our best every single week. That’s why I like to keep the focus on us and what we can do. I know what we are capable of, regardless of who we are playing against. The task on Saturday will be as tough as it was last Saturday, for different reasons.”


Tickets for MK Dons' Sky Bet League Two clash with Tranmere Rovers are still on sale from the Box Office and online, priced from £24 adults, £18 over-65s and under-25s, £6 under-21s and £3 under-14s if bought in advance of matchday, while under-7s can watch from as little as £1.

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, though prices will increase by £2 on the day of the game.

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