Oakley is wary of being one of League 2's 'big boys'

MK Dons' undefeated start is there to be shot at, and Matt Oakley knows they are a scalp to be taken this season.

Thursday, 30th August 2018, 9:46 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:18 pm
Matt Oakley

Dons sit second in League 2 after three wins and two draws from their opening five games, recently ending Exeter City's similar unbeaten start to the campaign with a 1-0 win at Stadium MK last Saturday.

Sitting two points adrift of Lincoln City, Dons travel to Swindon Town tomorrow (Saturday) knowing Phil Brown's side will be keen to get one over Paul Tisdale's side.

Having come down from League 1 last season, and with the largest stadium in the division, assistant manager Oakley knows Dons will be considered one of the 'big boys' in League 2, and believes their position in the table will only make teams up their game further.

"I think we're one of the 'big boys' because of where we are in the league," he said. "We have to see ourselves as a League 2 team and we're fighting it out against League 2 opposition.

"We've started well, but that's it - it's a start. Where we are in January, February time will determine how good a season we'll have. But if you see MK Dons coming and we're second in the league, you'd want to raise your game against us.

"We're a good side at the moment, not great, we're still learning. But the signs are good. We're growing, getting confident, but in certain games we have to put our pride to one side and play League 2 football, and hope we win those games."

Led by the experienced Brown who took over at the County Ground in March, Swindon sit 11th in the table after two wins, two draws and a defeat from their opening five games.

Swindon boss Phil Brown

Dons have a great record in Wiltshire, including the brilliant 3-0 win in 2015, and have not tasted defeat at Swindon since 2012. Oakley feels it is a good time to play the Robins.

He added: "Phil Brown is an experienced manager, he knows what he's doing. Their start has been pretty good, we've been watching their games recently, we've done our analysis and we'll be working towards how we can stop them and obviously where we feel we can hurt them.

"It's a good time to play them, on a good pitch. I expect it to be a good match and hopefully one we can go on and win."

After the return of Osman Sow and Sam Nombe on Tuesday night in the 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup, Oakley said the duo are in contention for a place on the bench again this Saturday, along with Brandon Thomas-Asante who made a return to training this week too. However, it's bad news for Lawson D'Ath, who is wearing a protective boot on the ankle injury he picked up against Exeter.

"It's not as bad as we thought, which is a good thing," Oakley added. "I don't know how long it will be. I think it was a clash in the corner when Jayden Stockley fell on his leg. For us, it was great he could finish the game because we'd have had to go down to 10 men."