Manning has been researching ‘unique’ rivalry between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon ahead of game

“I’ve been grilling people around here for more information about it, how it came about, how it has been over the years and some key moments”

Monday, 10th January 2022, 3:28 pm

Understanding the MK Dons - AFC Wimbledon rivalry is important for Liam Manning

Liam Manning cannot wait to get his first taste of the MK Dons-AFC Wimbledon rivalry tomorrow night at Stadium MK.

The sides meet for a 12th time on Tuesday, with the side from MK1 triumphing more than half of those games.

Manning said he has been asking around about the folklore and controversy surrounding the rivalry to best understand the feeling of the supporters come kick-off tomorrow night, and feels knowing the facts behind the origins is vital ahead of the game.

“It will be my first experience of it,” he said. “I've been grilling people around here for more information about it, how it came about, how it has been over the years and some key moments.

“Skip (Dean Lewington) has been terrific, I lean on his experience and knowledge of the club and understanding of these situations. It’s massive we can share that in the group. It happened all those years ago, and some of the players would still have been in nappies! It’s important the players understand it, and it’s massive for the fans. They have stepped up so many times for us this season, so the players have to give them something to get behind.

“It’s such a unique game in terms of how it started. There aren’t any other games like it. I want to do well in it. It’s important we understand it, the traditions and histories of the club you’re at, and the future of the club too. Understanding history of those rivalries is so important.

“It's an important game, but we have to approach it the same way we approach every game with the same discipline and desire. Sometimes, when there's an extra edge for the fans, it can give the players a boost but we have to make sure we're on track with what we need to do to win the match.”

Though AFC Wimbledon sit 18th in League One heading into the clash, 11 places behind Dons, Manning said: “They've got a few threats within their team. We've done our work, we've had a look at them and we know what to expect. We'll be looking to nullify their threats and expose their weaknesses.”