Dons must be ready for a season-defining February

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson

February will decide whether Dons will settle into becoming a midtable side, or make a late push for promotion according to Robbie Neilson.

Dons have seven games in 24 days this month, kicking off this Saturday against high-flying Bolton Wanderers at Stadium MK.

But with games against Bury, Oldham and Shrewsbury - all three below Dons in the table - also coming up this month, Neilson believes February will be key in his side's ambitions for the remainder of the campaign.

He said: "We've got a tough run of five or six games that could define where we're going to end up, whether we become a mid-table team and start planning for next or have a real good push for promotion. The key is to get promotion - that's what I want to get and it starts on Saturday.

"I want to win every game we play in. We know that can't happen, but we're only looking towards the next team."

Despite a last minute deal falling through to sign a defender on transfer deadline day, Neilson was pleased with the additions he made during January, signing Robbie Muirhead, Harvey Barnes, Maecky Ngombo and Stuart O'Keefe while allowing five to leave.

And he feels the signings he has made are capable of taking Dons back into the promotion mix.

"We're trying to build a squad that can get to the Championship and stay in the Championship," he said. "Every player you sign you should hope could get you into the Championship and keep us there. I don't like bringing in stop-gaps who don't have that quality. The permanent players I bring in will be guys who I think can get us there.

"I'm happy, we've brought in some good quality, and we've kept the players we wanted to keep. We've added to the squad, it's a better squad than it was before the start of the window, and it's now about putting it on the pitch and winning games.

"There's no point in bringing in four players if you're going to lose two of your best ones. We spoke with the chairman, and he was as desperate to keep hold of the players as I was."

Neilson's side have won their last two in League 1, beating Northampton 5-3 and Peterborough 4-0 as they appear to have finally found their goal-scoring boots again, but the boss knows his side will be in for a tough test against Wanderers.

"It'll be a massive game against one of the top teams in the league," he added. "It'll be a difficult task but the positive to take from last Saturday were that we're scoring goals, and we also kept a clean sheet. It's important that we're solid at the back and allow the forwards to go and do their jobs. But it'll be a tougher task on Saturday."

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