Tisdale cannot remove the emotions from the final day decider

Paul Tisdale
Paul Tisdale

Knowing his side must win on Saturday has not changed the way Paul Tisdale has approached the final day of the season.

Visitors Mansfield only need a point against Dons on Saturday to secure a spot in League 1 next season, while only three points will be enough for Tisdale's men to jump the Stags into third place.

The emotions will be running high at both ends of Stadium MK, with a crowd of nearly 20,000 expected for the decider and although Tisdale admits it will be hard to avoid the magnitude of the occasion, he says he has had to approach the game as normally as possible.

"The structure of the week has been the same, but the emotions have been different," he said. "We still have the same nuisances, obstacles, injuries. It's the same, other than we know the significance of the weekend, and we can't hide from that. We put too much work in to pretend it's not happening. It's all fine as long as we have a clear mind and players to put in their maximum.

"These things have an impact on the psyche, or it may make no difference. As it stands, we know we have to win, and score a goal at least, by default. We will have to be shrewd, considered in our approach, but it is what it is. We have to win. I'm looking forward to it. It's part of the job to continually balance your emotions.

"It is in our hands, but also the hands of the opposition too. It's an unusual situation, it doesn't happen every year. It's game on. The whole season comes down to this game, and we have to make sure we put our best game out and do our very best. We cannot guarantee anything but putting in our best performance."

The sides have met just five times down the years, with Dons edging affairs with two wins to Mansfield’s one, with the spoils shared twice, including the last meeting earlier this season, when the pair shared a 1-1 draw at the One Call Stadium.

Both are locked together on 76 points, and though Dons have picked up more wins along the way this season - 22 - Mansfield have lost nine times to Dons’ 13, and currently sit above them on goal difference.