Dons’ dressing room has a familiar feeling for former Hibs man

“ It’s an exciting time and the players are a really strong, united group”

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 6:00 am

Chris Hogg likened the MK Dons dressing room to the one which he first walked into at Hibs, which featured the likes of Scott Brown and Derek Riordan

Walking into the dressing room at MK Dons reminded Chris Hogg of the first Hibernian squad he was a part of at Easter Road.

Having made the move from Ipswich to Hibs in 2005, Hogg was a part of a young squad Tony Mowbray was piecing together to mount a challenge in the Scottish Premiership, featuring the likes of Scott Brown, Steven Whittaker, Kevin Thompson and Derek Riordan.

Dons’ young squad, according to Hogg, has a similar mentality to the one at Easter Road in 2005 in terms of their unity and togetherness.

“It reminds me of when I first went to Hibs,” said Hogg. “Tony Mowbray brought me up there and we had a really young team at the time. It reminds me of that, the energy and enthusiasm, the fearlessness. It’s an exciting time and the players are a really strong, united group. We have to harness that make us stronger.”

With just three players in the current Dons squad over the age of 25 - Dean Lewington (37), Josh McEachran (28) and Mo Eisa (27) - Hogg said the age of the team isn’t is as important as the players’ desire to learn and develop.

“Top coaches and managers these days are developers,” he continued. “It's a way of working. It's a young squad, we're here to help them be better for MK Dons first and foremost. Age is just a number - the way of working and a method of working is transferrable to any age. They're hungry to learn, which is excellent, and the potential is really good.

“We have to make progress as a group and a team. We're at an OK starting point. We have to enhance performances and understand how the gaffer wants us to play. The players have taken on a lot of information in the short term, but already, the players have shown their appetite and enthusiasm for how we want to play in the long term.

“With a few tweaks here or there, it could be a really good season. With the amount of games and the amount of work needed, there's a long time to go.”

First and foremost though, it has been a relief to both Hogg and indeed head coach Liam Manning to get some time on the training ground this week. After their first week saw the newly appointed coaching staff spend more time in the dugouts than on the training pitch, with three games in seven days, Hogg said the build up to Saturday’s game against Accrington Stanley will help the coaches and players get on the same page.

He added: “It has been great to get on the grass at Woughton. About 70 per cent of our first week was done on video, so it has shifted back on the the grass again. The way we work, the players get a lot of video anyway but it has been nice to get to train. They've been open to learn and energetic about how they've gone about things.”