Dons will be pleased to see the back of 2017

Gboly Ariyibi
Gboly Ariyibi

It's fair to say there aren't many positives MK Dons can take from 2017.

While the first six months of Robbie Neilson's tenure saw him firefighting to fend off relegation, the subsequent six have been far from prestige. Slumped in 20th place in League 1, three points above the relegation zone, not many people at Stadium MK will look back on the year fondly.

There have been highlights along the way though - wins away at Southend and Peterborough last season were spectacular, while Dons won for the first time at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, having also lost there in humiliating fashion.

But strings of lacklustre performances, and heavy home defeats to Sheffield United and Bradford were some of the lowlights.

And with Dons flailing in League 1 at the moment, with nine points from a possible 39, Neilson admitted: "It hasn't been as good as we hoped it to be, to be honest.

"When we came down (from Scotland), we turned things around and got a bit of stability, but this season hasn't been good enough.

"There are still a lot of things to be done, a lot of changes to be made. We have to continue to have the focus to do that. We've got a good team here, and it's a good project."

Keeper Lee Nicholls added: "It hasn't gone the way we hoped for to be honest, but we know we're not a million miles from where we want to be.

"There is still a chance of getting into the top half, maybe even the play-offs, if we put a good run together until the end of the season. It's just about working hard and getting everyone on our side."

Neilson, outlining his aims for 2018 added: "Let's hope 2018 is better than the last half of 2017. Our aim is to get up the league. We still have ambitions to get up the league and nearer the play-offs - maybe even get in them. We know what this league is like, teams have done it in the past, being in the bottom half and having a fantastic second half. We have to aim for that.

"But it's all well and good talking about it, we have to do it and the work out on the pitch to get there."