The mini-league to avoid relegation starts now for MK Dons

Writing off the previous 33 games, Mark Jackson has urged his side to start anew for the next month to escape the League One relegation zone
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After negotiating three games against League One’s high-flyers, the beginning of the end of MK Dons’ season starts now with what Mark Jackson has called the ‘mini-league’.

Coming up between now and the end of March are five huge games against teams in the bottom half of the table - Lincoln City, Port Vale, Cambridge, Accrington Stanley and Morecambe - three of them direct relegation rivals, which will ultimately define Dons’ season.

Following the 1-0 defeat to Ipswich Town on Saturday, Jackson told his team to turn their focus immediately to the next month, effectively beginning their season afresh, writing off the previous 33 games as a bad debt, knowing coming out on top of those games will likely determine whether they can beat the drop.

“This is where it starts now - our mini league from now until the end of the season. We're playing teams in and around us, and it's where we need to start coming to life, picking up three points and we need to take the positives into these next few games.

“It doesn't start Monday, but now. How we recover from this game, how we prepare for training on Monday, our preparation for Lincoln and how we attack every game after that.

“We have to have a mindset of doing whatever it takes now, whatever it takes to get points, score goals, keep clean sheets, to ensure we get points on the table to ensure safety. Looking around the dressing room, the intent from the players was there. They want to do that.

“My challenge is for us as a team to win this mini league which will be apparent for the rest of the season.

“I looked into their eyes, and they seem ready for it.”

Season defining games coming up

Jamie Cumming said it is time for Dons to put meaning behind their words, to get points on the board and to get out of the relegation scrapJamie Cumming said it is time for Dons to put meaning behind their words, to get points on the board and to get out of the relegation scrap
Jamie Cumming said it is time for Dons to put meaning behind their words, to get points on the board and to get out of the relegation scrap

Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming said the dressing room is confident of avoiding relegation to League Two, but felt time is running out for their words to come to fruition.

“We all believe we can get out of it,” he said. “We know we've got quality in the dressing room.

“We knew these last three it would be tough, but we didn't write them off. The gap is still only two points though. You saw Burton put together a few wins and all of a sudden it looks so much better for them, so there's no reason we can't do the same.

“Every game is massive now, we've got to stop talking about it and start delivering.”