Fond memories of Ipswich but Manning wants to bite the hand which fed him

“It was a very good game but I hope we’re on the end of the result this time.”

<p>MK Dons celebrate Scott Twine’s brilliant free-kick during the 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town at Portman Road earlier this season</p>

MK Dons celebrate Scott Twine’s brilliant free-kick during the 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town at Portman Road earlier this season

Ipswich Town gave Liam Manning his professional debut and his first coaching job, but he wants to send them and more than 7,000 fans home from Milton Keynes with nothing tomorrow.

In only his third game in charge of MK Dons, Manning led his side into his old stomping ground of Portman Road where the sides played out a thrilling 2-2 draw, but it could have been so different had Josh Martin’s stoppage time strike been a little lower, going in instead of thumping the crossbar.

It was a result Manning felt his side deserved on the day despite twice having to come from behind to cancel out Macauley Bonne efforts.

“It was a good game, and I think we played really well and were unlucky not to come away with all three points,” said Manning. “It was tough, intense, physical, it was a real challenge for the guys.

“I thought we came out on top too, the goals we conceded were disappointing and then Josh Martin hit the bar at the very end. It was a very good game but I hope we’re on the end of the result this time.

“I spent a long time there, and I’m still in touch with people there. I feel I still owe the club a huge amount of thanks for that, but I’m here and I’m looking at doing my best here.”

Town boss Kieran McKenna has helped turn around Ipswich’s fortunes since taking over. Overseeing six wins in his nine matches in charge, the Tractor Boys have moved up to ninth in League One, hovering outside the play-off spots.

“He has made a really positive impact,” Manning continued. “He's done a good job in terms of clarity. They had huge investment in the summer, they've got great depth, and I've enjoyed watching their recent games.”

Part of the enjoyment is down to the style of play McKenna is opting for. Similar to Dons’ possession-based style, McKenna said tomorrow’s match will not be decided on a ‘beauty contest’ and Manning said he agreed with his counterpart, adding: “It's about which team can be most effective, which players can fight the most and want to work the most, make the most correct decisions and collectively. He's spot on with what he said.

“We can only control what we can, against a team who are set up strong, but we're equally as strong. I've got a group of excited and hungry players who are eager for this game.”