Manning hopes to add a new fond memory of Ipswich Town

Friday, 20th August 2021, 4:06 pm

Dons head coach Liam Manning spent his formative years as a footballer at Ipswich Town. Tomorrow, Saturday, he takes charge of MK Dons at Portman Road against his former club

Liam Manning has plenty of fond memories at Ipswich Town, and he hopes to add winning there with MK Dons tomorrow.

The 35-year-old spent seven years at Portman Road as a player, and then nearly a decade as a coach in the Tractor Boys’ academy system.

He now makes his first away trip with MK Dons back to familiar territory, but he is more than happy to bite the hand which once fed him by picking up his second victory in charge, piling more pressure on Paul Cook’s side who are yet to win this season.

“I have fun memories but ultimately I’ll be going there to get the win and to perform - that’s the game!” said Manning.

“I have very good memories - I spent a lot of time there, from 13 to 20. And then I came back to coach at 21, 22 and then spent the best part of eight or nine years there. I have a huge history with the club and I'm still in contact with people there.

“I'm hugely grateful for the opportunities they provided me, the education they gave me and some of the people I met there - Chris (Hogg) and David (Wright) both have history there as well.”

It has been a real baptism of fire for head coach Manning, coming in to to a busy week against three clubs expected to be at the sharp end of League One this season - Sunderland, Charlton and Ipswich.

Finally able to get a full training session under his belt with his new squad, a week after signing, Manning said he could not have asked for a tougher opening to his career as head coach, but said the players have stepped up and taken on board what Manning has been asking for.

Jokingly, Manning said: “It’s a nice easy week for me with three huge clubs to play!

“Some are investing a lot to get promoted, but it comes back to concentrating on us and what we can control.

“We’ve been delighted with the boys this week, our preparation has been good off the back of a win. It was nice to get on the grass and get some time with the lads ahead of Ipswich.

“There hasn’t been a big overhaul just some tweaks in and out of possession. Next week will be nice to get a full week on the grass so they can feel it.

“We’ve done our video work with the units so they are in a good place. We will prepare the same no matter who we play for.”