AFC Wimbledon clash is 'not just another game'

Dons boss Paul Tisdale
Dons boss Paul Tisdale

The second meeting between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon this season cannot be treated like any other game, Paul Tisdale admitted.

With the history between the sides, Tisdale said there was no way to avoid the significance the fixture holds to both sets of supporters.

Dons were 4-2 winners on penalties when the sides met last month in the Carabao Cup after a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium. League One form though has evaded both sides.

While Dons have two wins and three defeats to their name, AFC Wimbledon have just two draws and four defeats, leaving them 21st in the table. And with both in desperate need of a win, Tisdale said: "It's a really important game to win for them and for us.

"It's not just another game. We have to prepare like it is, but it's not just another game. The people around it and on the periphery make it different. We know the dynamic of the game, there is a small matter of beating the opposition and three points at stake, and that's the reality.

"Of course, and they'd like me to say we tried even harder but I know it means a lot, supporters will see things differently to a player and manager. We sympathise, empathise with the fans and we really want to win, and it's not a case of how much but how we go about it.

Tisdale and AFC Wimbledon manager Wally Downes share a laugh before the game in August

Tisdale and AFC Wimbledon manager Wally Downes share a laugh before the game in August

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"It was a good game (last month), a close one, and we played really well. They showed a lot of gumption to come back with a late goal, but we were delighted to have won it. But it was a month ago, there will be changes to both sides."

Saturday's game, kicking off at the earlier time of midday, will be the fifth meeting of the sides at Stadium MK and the ninth overall. The visitors have only triumphed once in Milton Keynes, winning 3-2 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in 2014.