Bonding and building experience for Dons at St George's Park

"Being in an one of the best facilities in the country will really add a real spring to a lot of their steps"

Taking his players to one of the best training facilities in the country, Russell Martin hopes MK Dons will continue to make strides during pre-season ahead of kick-off in August.

Dons are training at St George's Park in Burton - the regular training base for the England national side - as they prepare for the 2021/22 season. After picking up 3-1 wins over King's Lynn Town and Maidenhead United so far, Martin's side travelled up to the facility for the week to not only train, but to bond together properly for the first time since he took over.

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"Being in an one of the best facilities in the country will really add a real spring to a lot of their steps," said the manager. "For the new guys especially, not just the stuff we can talk to them about in meetings, but the casual stuff. It's really important to integrate the new guys. If you compare pre-season to last, we were so confined and it was so hard to build that relationship with the new players. This season is so much more positive and we're in a better place.

"First and foremost, the players have to be in a place where they are physically ready to compete and play the way we want them to, and they are. After that, it's about trying to improve. The process is that we analyse every training session, match, learn from it and practice what we learn and then go and perform. We learned a lot last week, and there's still a long way to go. There's lots to be positive about and lots we can work on.

"The guys are in great condition, physically and mentally. We've got such a great group of professional young men who are really hungry to improve and get better, to improve and listen to detail and to work hard for each other. We're all just counting down the days before the season starts.

"Pre-season is relentless, hectic, intense. The transfer window is open as well so it's pretty exhausting, but it's great, it's what we live for. We're really energised at the moment and hopefully that'll remain the case."