Manager Simon Grayson is well aware this weekend’s clash at stadiumMK is the game of the day in League One, but is treating it no differently to any other.
“It’s the game of the day in League One,” said the PNE chief. “Everybody will be saying it is a ‘crucial six-pointer’, but it is just the next game for us. We understand the significance of it, as MK Dons do as well.
“If we win, we pull away from them and if they win, they go above us. But there are still a lot of games to be played, many twists and turns to come and everyone will both pick up points and drop them over the next few weeks.
“We can only affect what we are doing and Saturday is a game against a team that are very close to us. We go into it in good spirits aware of the talent that they have got.
“I think it is the best group of players Karl has had since he has been at MK Dons, in terms of the numbers and the quality that he has available and we are aware of what they can do, as they have major goals in the team, as they have already shown so far this year.”
The game will further shape the top of the table, but suggestions that it is a game where PNE must not lose is not something the manager doesn’t endorse.
“We never want to lose any game,” he continued.” We want to win every game we are involved in, whether that is MK Dons, Oldham last weekend or Crewe next weekend – that doesn’t change. Our philosophy is to go and win the match.
“If we win it we pull away from them and if results go well elsewhere you can close the gap or pull away from other teams as well.
“It’s a big game, but there are still 12 more to come after that. It is no good just winning this weekend and then losing the week after, because you undo all your hard work.
“We are going into it with the same philosophy we have had all season; approaching it as a game we want to win, concentrating on it solely and then moving onto the next one after that. We are not getting carried away because we have gone into second, we are keeping our feet firmly on the ground and they will remain that way.”
The sides couldn’t be separated when they met back in December and the manager expects an equally tough encounter in MK1: “We played well against them in December and could have won the game.
“They have threats in their team, but we know what we are capable of doing and go into the game in confidence with the desire to get a result.
“Right the way through their squad they have strengthened this season and just this week they brought Joe Walsh in from Crawley, who is a good defender, so they are showing their intent,” he added.