No rest for Dons over Christmas

MK Dons will be training on Christmas Day
MK Dons will be training on Christmas Day

For the first time in six years, MK Dons will be training on Christmas Day.

The first team had Christmas Day off under former boss Karl Robinson's watch, given a fitness programme they could undertake at home.

And it seemingly paid off, with Dons winning four of their last five on Boxing Day.

But under new boss Robbie Neilson, the players will be in early on December 25 ahead of their Boxing Day clash with Charlton - ironically Robinson's new club - ahead of another busy festive period.

"We train right through," said Neilson. "The lads will be in on Christmas Day to prepare for Boxing Day, and then for the game after that. It’s a busy period, but we have to put the Christmas celebrations to the side and concentrate on the football.

"It’s important to pick up points at this time of the year. We’ll train early in the morning, so they can set aside the afternoon with their families. As a player, it’s important you’re professional and realise the most important thing is getting three points.

"With so many games, and the league being so tight, if you don’t look after yourself or players aren’t prepared, you can lose a lot of ground in the league as well."

With three games in a little over a week against sides in and around them - Charlton, Swindon and Chesterfield - Neilson is setting a high target for his players, knowing a good Christmas could see them gain more momentum heading into 2017.

He said: "Obviously I want nine points, because we want to win every game but I’m only looking at it one game at a time. We’ll look at Charlton and then move on to the next one.

"We won’t go into any game settling for a draw because we’ve got the capabilities here to win games, but it’s about finding the consistency to do it. Hopefully, with a few more recruits in to add numbers but also quality, we’ll find it."