Robbie Stockdale knows MK Dons will be in for a ‘tricky’ evening at the LNER Stadium, as they prepare to face the only side in Sky Bet League One who have yet to lose at home this season.
Tonight, the Dons go on the road to take on Lincoln City, who are unbeaten on their own patch in 2022/23 and have conceded the second-fewest number of goals at home amongst League One clubs.
Only runaway Championship leaders Burnley have an undefeated home record, similar to the Imps, across the EFL but while aware that securing victory won’t be a simple task, Assistant Head Coach Stockdale knows the Dons do need to put points on the board urgently if they are to climb out of the bottom four in Sky Bet League One.
“It's a tricky game against Lincoln, a team who don't lose many matches,” he said in Monday’s pre-match press conference. “They're difficult to break down, have some quality in attacking areas, and we'll have to play well to beat them.
“Lincoln will have thought, at times, they'll have left points out on the pitch at home but sometimes a draw isn't the worst result - if you can't win, don't lose.
“It just proves they're stubborn, and we're fully aware of what the game will bring, but we'll go there with a positive frame of mind to pick up points.”
With several teams not in action tonight, the Dons will move clear of the bottom four with three points this evening. Discussing the team’s current standing, Stockdale told the media: “The next month will tell us what kind of season we're going to have.
“We find ourselves in the third tier of the group, and we've got a lot of those teams to play. We're a couple of points away from safety but with our destiny in our own hands.
“We're in a mini-league now and we’ve got to finish top of that, but words are cheap, it's about going onto the pitch and performing. We've got quality in the squad to do that.”
In terms of team news, Stockdale didn’t rule out a return for Daniel Harvie, though the defender is still classed as a doubt due to the knee injury which kept him out of Saturday’s game with Ipswich Town.
“He's done a little bit of work on the grass today to see how he reacts,” Stockdale said when asked for an update on Harvie’s status.
“I wouldn't like to rule him in or out of the Lincoln game just yet, but we won't take a risk with him. There's no point in having him for just one game if we lose him for several as a result.”
Here is what else Robbie Stockdale had to say in Monday’s pre-match press conference…
On Saturday’s defeat to Ipswich Town…
“It was a different feeling (to the previous two results), given the way we played on Saturday, even though the outcome was the same. In the first-half, we were a threat to Ipswich and were probably a bit unlucky not to go into the break at least level, if not ahead. It's where we are at the moment. The results haven't been there but we can take positives out of it certainly.”
On his first six weeks with the Club…
“I've enjoyed it. It's a great group to work with. Myself and Mark (Jackson) are rapidly getting to know each other and how we work.
“It won't be overnight that Mark can implement his style of play on the team, that's clear. But in the short-term, we need points on the board, and they will come with performance. The wins don't come without a performance, and if the players can go out with clarity, it gives us a better chance of success.”
On keeping tabs on loan players…
“I was in touch with Dan (Kemp) at the weekend, touching base with him, telling him how well he's doing. At the moment, he's standing out in that team which is brilliant for him.
“We keep tabs on all the players out on loan, and that includes the younger ones as well. We're still learning about them too so we get all their footage and try to have people watching them as much as we can.
“Especially for players like Dan and Matt (Dennis), getting minutes on the pitch in a different environment is part of their development. I went on loan several times as a player, and you get good moves and bad ones but you learn from each. Both boys are getting that experience and it's doing them good in the long-term.
“It's important players feel valued, so we want to keep in touch with them. We don't just send them out and forget about them. Just because they're not in the building, doesn’t mean they're not still in our thoughts.”
Tickets for tonight's clash with Lincoln City can now only be bought at the LNER Stadium. Tickets are priced at £24 adults, £19 over-65s/18-21s and £10 under-18s, and will be available to buy from the Visitor Ticket Window at the LNER Stadium, which is located outside the club shop.
Can't make the game? Supporters can WATCH this fixture live on iFollow MK Dons for £10 - to purchase a Video Match Pass CLICK HERE!