New season, new league, new direction for MK Dons

Paul Tisdale wants to nudge Dons in a different direction
Paul Tisdale wants to nudge Dons in a different direction

Paul Tisdale hopes to use promotion to League 1 as an opportunity to mould MK Dons into a team more to his liking.

The manager has made no secret that his League 2 promotion winning squad was bigger than he anticipated, with players in there he would not necessarily have chosen, having taken over last summer.

But with two already confirmed in leaving - Ouss Cisse and Brandon Thomas-Asante - and more expected to follow later this week when the club announces their retained list, Tisdale believes freeing up space in the squad will allow him to bring in the type of player he sees playing his brand of football in League 1.

"You have to make these changes when the time is right," he said. "I need a certain type of signing that will give us the depth to give us those performances more often. This is my opportunity to nudge it in a different way, but I have to be careful not to change too much.

"Essentially, we need a team that garners all the momentum and why we've had a good season – work-rate, ethic – and take that into the next league. We don't want to overthink how to become better. We don't have to get it right in August either, we have time to build ourselves into next year. I'm philosophical about it, and looking forward to it, but we have to get the balance right."

Tisdale's biggest issue though, he feels, is making plans for next season without fully knowing the lay of the land elsewhere as other clubs are also yet to reveal who they will be retaining, who they will be releasing and who will be available.

He said: "We're blind to it really. We don't yet know what is available, we've only just established the budget for next year, we have players out of contract here but haven't yet turned down our offer. It's not as simple as people would make out. It's a blurred, muddled month. It's ongoing, and even if I'm on holiday, it still goes on. You can't afford to miss out on anything.

"Ultimately as the manager, I have to make the decisions. Other clubs may make a call for one of my players. You need to be on your toes. We're in a good position.

"It's not June, it's still May so we've got a good run-up, but we're into that period when it can become a bit of a circus. You've got to be in the hunt, in the contest, but the window closes in August so it shows how long this goes on for!"