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Fixture News

Jackson: Excited for Stadium MK return

Head Coach Mark Jackson previews this weekend's Sky Bet League One clash with Lincoln City at Stadium MK...

11 January 2023

Mark Jackson is excited to return to Stadium MK action after spending an extended period of time on the training pitch with his MK Dons squad.

Jackson, appointed Head Coach during a busy festive period, has had a first real opportunity to work with his players over the last fortnight and prepare for an important stretch of league fixtures, which begins with Saturday’s visit of Lincoln City.

“It’s been great,” Jackson said when reflecting on the chance to spend quality time on the training pitch. “I've been looking forward to this since I got into the Club!

“It was difficult over the festive period for us to get the work in so we had to be creative and find different ways to do that but, last week, we could get on the training ground, spend some time together working on our ideas and behaviours, and that will continue this week in the lead up to the Lincoln game.

“We’ve been focusing on how we want to play with the ball and against the ball with the ball. We’ve got a talented bunch of players who can play a certain way, so we have been concentrating on out-of-possession and against the ball, and what we do on the transitions and how we win the ball back.

“We want to have the ball more than the opposition so the quicker we can win it back and regain control of the game, the better.

“It's just been being a case of working through those behaviours explaining to the players what we want and then trying to execute that on the pitch. It’s been really beneficial and really pleasing to get the work into the players.

“I’ve got to say the players have been fantastic and they have shown a real focus and desire to work, implement my ideas and to learn, and the intensity has been right up there. Showing a great attitude and a desire to learn is all I can ask.

“You can be the best players in the world but if you don't have that grit, determination and desire to out-work your opponents then you're not going to get far. If you can combine ability with that, then that’s a successful combination.”

Saturday will be the first of three matches at Stadium MK in January, providing Jackson’s side with an opportunity to build some momentum and climb up the Sky Bet League One table.

Looking ahead to the run of home games, the Head Coach said: “I am really excited to see the fans here back at the stadium MK on Saturday and hopefully they can get behind the team.

“Against Forest Green Rovers, last time here, it wasn't the ideal performance but we got the three points which was the most important thing on that day. Hopefully we can build on that kind of mentality going forward.

“I had a chat with all the staff and the players and said that we've got to do now is stop with this mindset of ‘this has been the story of our season’ and ‘we’ve not really done well here’ because that's all in the past.

“We've got to set our own vision for the second part of the season and have a mindset that when teams come here, they're going to expect a really tough game. We need to be ready and then make sure we have the capabilities to do what's needed to win the game.”

Here is what else Mark Jackson had to say in his early Lincoln City preview with iFollow MK Dons…

On the support of the staff…
“The staff have been great and a special shout out goes to JB (John Bitting) as well who has combined his role with the Under-18s while supporting me on a daily basis too. I thank him every day for that but I will continue to do so because he's been a fantastic help. It’s a relationship I want to grow stronger as we move forward so that we can we can share ideas ensure we're not two separate teams. We want a clear alignment.

“I'm working hard at the minute on bringing in my assistant head coach. Even when I was back in Leeds over the weekend I was meeting and speaking with people. That's ongoing behind the scenes between myself, Liam and the Chairman but, like we’ve said about signings, it needs to be the right person who comes in, because they’re going to be such an integral part of the team.”

On looking to add to the squad…
“I'm fully focused on working with this group of players here because they've shown me so far that they are hungry, they have the desire and they have the quality.

“Of course, we have the scope to bring the right players in and we have identified a certain number of players. Coming in, I’ve given my ideas on the kind of profile we want and that's helped us identify a certain type of player that we want.

“We’re not just going to go out and get players for the sake of it because we feel that if players come in, they have to enhance the squad. Work is going on behind the scenes every day, all day to try and get those right deals over the line. These things take time to do it right I've got full trust in Liam (Sweeting) and the team to pull that off and do it correctly.

“Without putting a time limit on it, which is hard to do in these situations, hopefully we can get some deals over the line soon, but I want to make it clear that I am really happy with the players we have here at the minute and they're giving everything and really fighting to get in that starting 11.”

On engaging with supporters on social media…
“I have always said that fans are really important at any football club and I will always try my best to engage with them and sometimes that's on social media. That's a platform these days which is which is massive and I made a decision a long time ago to be a coach who will engage from that from that respect. There is obviously so much I can say on social media but I always try and give an update on how we’re feeling and how we've trained. I will also try and respond where possible but somethings I can't answer, for obvious reasons. Ultimately, it can be can be a great platform for communication, if it's done correctly.

“Engagement with fans is vital. The fans are everything for a football club - players come and go, managers come and go and staff come and go but the fans are always going to be there. We need their support and the least we can do is engage with them and give them that interaction. It’s vital our staff are like that and same with our players. Anything we can do to support that, then I'll be fully behind that.”

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Tickets for Saturday's Sky Bet League One clash with Lincoln City 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.

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.

Meanwhile, MK Dons are offering Season Ticket holders the opportunity to claim a FREE additional ticket for the fixture and provide a friend or family member the opportunity to experience live football at Stadium MK - CLICK HERE for more information!


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