Mark Jackson says it's time for MK Dons to turn around their home form, starting Saturday when they welcome Oxford United to Stadium MK.
Jackson’s Dons face the U’s this weekend looking to secure only their third home Sky Bet League One victory of the campaign and their first on a Saturday, in the league, since April.
“Our home form needs to improve,” Jackson said in his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s fixture.
“We have a responsibility, when playing at Stadium MK, to help create that atmosphere. I know if we are on it, and the fans are on it, we can create a real vibrant atmosphere where we can get on top of teams.
“We know certain teams sit back against us (at Stadium MK) but I don't think Oxford will do that. They're a really attacking team and they pose a real threat going forwards, attacking from wide areas with their full-backs joining in.
“We'll really have to be on our game to deal with that but we need to take it to them too. We're at home so we want to be on the front foot and dominate the ball as much as we can.”
Continuing to discuss Saturday’s opponents, Jackson added: “I know they've not been on a great run but I've watched a lot of their game and they're dangerous. As we've seen, you can have good performances but sometimes results don't go your way.
“They will cause us problems on Saturday and we have to be prepared for that. From my perspective, I will be against a really experienced manager in the Football League, so I'll need to be on my game as well to combat that.”
Here is what else Mark Jackson had to say in his pre-match press conference…
On injuries to Joshua Kayode and Anthony Stewart…
“JJ suffered an injury on his return - a freak injury. He was doing everything right, he was looking strong but as he went through one action, he's damaged his quad. He'll undergo surgery for that so that will be him out for the rest of the season. It's a real blow for us and for him because he's worked so hard to get back and it came out of the blue.
“Anthony, who has been playing and training all season, has picked up an injury as well. We have to assess it in more depth to find out the extent of it but it’s a real kick in the teeth to us and I had my head in my hands for half-an-hour after the news. We're hopeful it's not too long, but we have to prepare for every case. It will be weeks though, not days.
“We brought him in for leadership, and he wants to be a part of the group. It's knocked him for six a bit but he's still here, integrating into the group. It’s just a shame we won’t be able to see his impact on the pitch immediately.
“It’s not great at all but it's just something we have to deal with. Problems arise all the time in football and we've got to find a solution now. We might have to look at (free agents) and it's something we'll have to do if it takes longer than expected for him to come back. We've got ideas, we've got a database of free agents so we can step into that if needs be.”
On the other injured players…
“Nathan Holland is back in training and looking good. Ethan Robson is getting closer all the time and he'll be looking to join back in again soon. Dean Lewington is back on the pitch which is really good to see. He's on the road to recovery.”
On protecting Jack Tucker and Zak Jules…
“They've been doing really well and I'm pleased with them. We can't wrap them up in cotton wool because sometimes that can come back to haunt you. We have to train how we play because if we tell them not to go into tackles, they could get injured there too. Of course, there are things we can do to try and minimise the risk, but they'll still be training at full-tilt.”
On Joshua Kayode…
“The boy was devastated when it happened. Sometimes, when you see a player afterwards you can't console them, all you can do is put your arm around them and tell them you're there for them. I've been in that position as a player, coming back from an injury and immediately picked up another one, so I know how he feels.
“I don't know what the plan is yet, whether he'll go back to Rotherham (United) to complete his rehab there. But while he's here, he'll get all the support from the staff. He'll come back from it, and hopefully have a long career in the game.
“Even in the games he played, he was feeling his knee. He wasn't feeling himself, so there's an air of frustration from him, and the fans too who didn't get to see the real JJ. He's a fantastic player, I've spoken to enough people about him to know he'll be a real threat. It's just a shame we've lost him.”
On showing an aggressive side at Bristol Rovers…
“It was my kind of game! We have a certain way of playing and we want to play with the ball, but we didn't have the ball as much as we normally do which is a credit to Bristol Rovers. We know they're a strong outfit, it's a tight ground but we silenced their crowd at times and frustrated them, and that was due to our tactical discipline.
“I think you're seeing now, since we've come in, how we work without the ball a lot better, we're a more aggressive counter-pressing team to win the ball back. I will always challenge the players to be aggressive, but never to cross the line by being reckless with silly yellow and red cards. We have to have a front-foot mentality all the time, in how we press, how we're ready to go with and without the ball. You could see that against Bristol Rovers.
“There will be moments when we have to mix it a little, but when we play, we have to show our quality and show what we're about.”
Tickets for Saturday's Sky Bet League One clash with Oxford United 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.