We want to test ourselves early and against the biggest teams, says Neilson

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson

Taking on former League 1 champions Wigan Athletic on the first day is an ideal start to the season according to MK Dons boss Robbie Neilson.

The Latics, like Dons, lasted just one season in the Championship before falling back through the trapdoor to League 1.

Already touted as one of the favourites to make an immediate return to the second tier, Wigan will be the first team to visit Stadium MK next season.

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But far from a baptism of fire, Neilson is relishing the chance to take on one of the biggest teams in the division first time out.

He said: “You want a big team at the beginning of the season, one of your rivals, because if you can put in a performance and turn them over, it sets the tone for the rest of the season.

“There are a lot of good teams in the league this year, with some big teams coming up and down.

“It’s going to be an exciting year. It’s always difficult and you have to make sure you win your games.

“It’ll be tough but you want to test yourself against teams like these.”

Months don’t come much better than September for Dons. In just 24 days, Dons will play all of their League 1 rivals - Northampton, Peterborough, AFC Wimbledon and Oxford United - with fans already talking about which fixtures they can get to.

But for Neilson, he insists there won’t be any difference to their approach, despite so many hotly contested games in September.

“We don’t look at derbies in a different light until we actually get to the day before them,” he said.

“We just take care of the next games.

“If we can build momentum going into these big games, the results will take care of themselves.”