I’ll be kept busy at Loftus Road – Martin

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DAVID Martin is expecting a busier evening this time around as Dons prepare for their FA Cup third round replay with Queens Park Rangers tonight (Tuesday).

The keeper remained untested for the most part of the original tie earlier this month, but his late blunder gifted Heidar Helguson an equaliser to Dean Bowditch’s opener, sending the clash to a decider at Loftus Road.

And while Dons comfortably out-played their Premier League opposition last time out, Martin is expecting a new QPR side to come at them on home turf – particularly given that it’s their first home game under new boss Mark Hughes who replaced the sacked Neil Warnock after the 1-1 draw at stadium:mk.

Martin said: “I was a bit surprised – I thought I’d be a lot busier in the previous game, but I think we played really well. It will be a different kettle of fish when we go there though, but I’ve prepared in exactly the same way that I have for any other game and I’ll just try and enjoy it as much as I can.

“We should be fresh for the game, but I like playing Saturday-Tuesday because it keeps you sharp.

“Everyone will go into the game looking forward to it. It will be a big ask with the new manager and playing on their turf. But we will try and play like we did at stadium:mk and we will give it our best shot.”

The controversial postponement of Saturday’s League 1 game against Carlisle meant Dons haven’t played a competitive game in 10 days, while QPR’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle came on Sunday afternoon.

But Martin doesn’t expect the quick turnaround to have much of an effect on the side in the top division as they look to impress new manager Hughes, who himself will be looking forward to his first win as Rangers boss.

“It will be tough for QPR having played on Sunday and again on Tuesday,” Martin said. “But with the players will want to prove to the new manager that they should be in the side. We’re ready for anything. They will come flying out of the box and we have to be ready for that.

“Mark Hughes will need to win a lot of his early games, so there’s pressure on him but he’s a big enough manager to take that.

“We will go there and enjoy playing our football like we have done all season and we will see if we can nick a win.”

With the Carlisle game called off, it adds another Tuesday night fixture to Dons’ already busy schedule as they are now set to play a midweek game for each of the next three weeks.

Martin said: “The more games we play, it’s always going to be a tough ask for the players, but at the beginning of the season we played Saturday-Tuesday quite regularly and we went on a long unbeaten run so hopefully we can go on another run like that.”

And should Dons come away from Loftus Road with a win, they will face the might of Chelsea in the fourth round later this month.

“It’s a big carrot there to look forward to,” Martin added. “But we’re concentrating on QPR. To be playing teams like that at this time of year is always a great bonus.”

Dons have sold 1,870 tickets in advance of tonight’s replay with 800 remaining available on the turnstiles.