Martin tells MK Dons to 'embrace the challenge' as they head to Bournemouth
Russell Martin has told his MK Dons players to 'embrace the challenge' of taking on Sky Bet Championship AFC Bournemouth in the first round of the Carabao Cup on Saturday (ko 3pm).
Dons get their competitive season up and running with what is a tough challenge at the Vitality Stadium, but Martin believes the 3-1 midweek friendly defeat to Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur can stand his players in good stead.
Scott Parker has taken charge of the Cherries having left Fulham at the end of last season, and the south coast side are expected to challenge for promotion back to the Premier League they were relegated from in the summer of 2020.
Taking them on on their own turf first up is is undoubtedly a difficult proposition, but Martin said: "It is really exciting, and if you can't get excited about this tie then you are not in the right game.
"It is going to be tough, Scott Parker is a fantastic manager and they have a brilliant squad.
"We have watched a bit of them, and in my opinion they are going to be right at the top end of the Championship, and challenging for promotion to the Premier League.
"But our guys have to approach it with the same mentality they did on Wednesday (against Spurs), and embrace the challenge.
"We can go there and put in a really good performance, and we have got to go there to win because we never try and do anything else.
"We have to try and impose our own gameplan and be us as much as we can.
"And if we go there and do that then it builds momentum ahead of the start of the league season.
"This is what we have all worked so hard for, it has all been about Saturday, and then Saturday becomes about making sure we are competitive and we try to win the game in our way.
"We are all looking forward to it, and the players have to embrace it and enjoy it."