EFL Trophy is not to be sniffed at says Martin

MK Dons won the EFL Trophy in 2008MK Dons won the EFL Trophy in 2008
MK Dons won the EFL Trophy in 2008
A chance of a Wembley final is not something Dons will take lightly

It might be maligned by supporters, but the EFL Trophy is not a competition Russell Martin is going to take lightly this season.

Dons open their campaign tonight at Stadium MK against neighbours Northampton Town ahead of their League One campaigns getting underway on Saturday.

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The EFL Trophy, in its many guises over the years, has been considered an after-thought or a distraction with fans staying away for the most part. However with a Wembley final in the offing, Martin said Dons, who took 33,000 fans to the national stadium when they won the competition in 2008, will be taking it seriously.

Russell MartinRussell Martin
Russell Martin

"A lot of people disrespect the competition or aren't really interested, but the carrot at the end is huge," he said. "Financially it helps, but having a day out at Wembley and lifting a trophy - not many players get to do that. I think it's a good competition. It also allows us to try different things, but ultimately it's a game we want to win."

Keith Curle's side head to Stadium MK for the first time in nearly two years (October 2018) still seeking their first win in Milton Keynes at the eighth attempt. Cobblers secured promotion to League One in convincing style by crushing Exeter City in the League Two play-off final and come into the game with momentum having thumped Championship side Cardiff City 3-0 in the Carabao Cup.

Martin says Northampton remind him of another play-off winning side - Wycombe Wanderers - and think they will pose a big threat to his side on Tuesday night.

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He said: "Northampton are a team we will face this season, they are similar to Wycombe and do it really well. They have their own identity and have real clarity in what they are doing – that brings strengths. When a team know what they are doing and have the culture to match that brings real dangers.

"It’s about us, it’s about what we do, it’s about trying to implement our game plan and negate their threat. It’s physical, it’s direct, but our players have to show they are up to the test."