Players must keep their emotions in check in heated encounter

Cameron NormanCameron Norman
Cameron Norman
Assistant head coach Ian Watson spoke ahead of MK Dons' game with AFC Wimbledon

Tensions will be high when MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon cross paths at Stadium MK this evening, but Ian Watson has called for his player to control their emotions come kick-off.

The heated rivalry will come to the fore in the 14th meeting between the sides, with Dons sat seventh and AFC Wimbledon three points behind in 10th.

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And though the emotions will be high in the stands, assistant head coach Watson has called for his players to keep control of their own as best they can.

"We need to control our emotions," he said. "The way we play is not just about emotions, it's about being calm and having that game understanding, having intelligence. It's fine to have emotions but we've got to use it in our favour, we have to control it and not let it work against us.

"We understand how big the game is, but we have a job to do, a game plan to stick to. Just because it's an emotional game, we still want it to look like us, like an MK performance.

"On the field, we want to get three points because we want the club as high as we can. We know the Sunderland and Newcastle derby, you feel it and you let yourself feel it but you want to let the emotions improve your performance rather than take away from it. We've got a tight unit at this club, and we have the confidence to go out and express ourselves."

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While Watson and head coach Mike Williamson have only been in post since the middle of October, he admitted conversations about the rivalry and the history between the sides has been relayed to them.

Watson added: "We were aware of the rivalry before, but you don't fully understand it until you get here. The first day we got here, we were briefed on a few things, and got a run down of the history. The guys have told us about the history of the football club, about AFC. We understand how big the game is, we're looking forward to it and are excited for it."