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Alexander ahead of MK Dons clash

13 April 2017

Iron manager Graham Alexander says his squad are in an upbeat mood heading into the Good Friday clash with MK Dons.

Alexander explained that an impressive 1-0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers naturally lifted the dressing room, and he hopes United can build on that with another three points at Stadium MK.

Speaking to The Iron PlayerHD, Alexander said: “The players have been in good spirits, as you’d expect after such a comprehensive win against very good opposition.

“We’re looking to build on that of course, and if we perform as we did last week then we’ll give ourselves the best chance.

“That’s what we’ve been focusing on, trying to replicate the approach to the game and the mental side of it, as well the tactical side.

“The players played with a great freedom and confidence last week. Considering the difficult run we’ve been on in the last seven or eight weeks, it was a fantastic performance.”

Friday’s opponents sit 12th in Sky Bet League One under Robbie Neilson, who took the reins at the Dons in December 2016, and Alexander knows the test which awaits the Iron.

“They’ve got something to play for, and they’ve got very good players within their squad,” Alexander declared.

“They were a Championship team last year, and they got promoted comfortably from League One the year before.

“We know they’ve got the majority of those players still there. They’re technically very good, and they can hurt you if you open up to them.

“We know it’ll be a difficult game for us, but what we have to remember is that we went into last week’s game concerned about ourselves and making sure Bolton were trying to stop us.”

Alexander states the challenge for his players is to now transfer the impressive home form shown of late to matches on the road.

“We’ve not been happy with our results away from home, but if you take the Millwall game out of it, the other away performances have been pretty good, and we’ve definitely deserved more,” he stated.

“We’ve lost a couple of last minute goals, and there was the Gillingham episode also. These have been real bitter pills to swallow for us, considering the general all-round performance.

“We need to make sure we remember the good bits that we did in those games, but especially what we did in the most recent game, which was at home.”

One man who’ll not be involved this Friday is Matt Crooks, after the Rangers loanee sustained a knee injury in last weekend’s encounter against Bolton.

The Iron boss explained a timescale can’t yet be placed on how long the midfielder will be sidelined for, but did reveal the club are awaiting results of scan which the 23-year-old has already had.

“Matt Crooks has had a scan and he’s going to see a specialist to get a full diagnosis of his injury. He’ll obviously be missing at the weekend - how bad the damage is we’re not 100% sure yet,” he revealed.

“We don’t want to jump to conclusions until he sees the expert in that field, and we’ll give you the news once we know.

“He’ll definitely be out for the Friday and Monday games, and then hopefully we’ll get some good news from his appointment.”

Elsewhere, Harry Toffolo could return to the squad and, after undertaking a full week of training, both Kevin van Veen and Sam Mantom are expected to be involved in some capacity once more.

“They’ve (Sam Mantom and Kevin van Veen) trained this week, so we’ll be looking to include them in the squad again,” said Alexander.

“I think it’ll do both of them the world of good to have a full week’s training going into this weekend. We look forward to having them both back with us, because they’re both quality players, and they’ve shown that quality already this season.

“We might have Harry Toffolo back for the weekend as well.”

See much more from Graham Alexander, Josh Morris, David Mirfin and Scott Wiseman on The Iron PlayerHD.

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