Paul Ince’s MK Dons have mounting injury problems ahead of Saturday’s clash at Carrow Road, as the ‘Guv’nor’ desperately tries to salvage something from their season.
Once a real threat for an automatic promotion spot, the Dons now face a battle to stay in the top 10 and realistically, with an 11 point gap to Huddersfield – who occupy the final play-off spot – their top-six dream has now died.
And with Stephen Gleeson out for the season, as well as Willy Gueret and Sean O’Hanlon joining Peter Leven, Sam Baldock and James Tunnicliffe as doubts for the weekend trip to Norfolk, they face an uphill battle to halt City’s surge to the title.
But despite seeing his side’s chances of promotion diminish, former Inter Milan, Manchester United and Liverpool midfielder Ince remains upbeat about Dons’ last six games of the season.
“I told the lads, Arsenal haven’t won any silverware for five years, and even Manchester United had to wait 26 years to win the Premier League,” he said, speaking to the MK Citizen.
“We’re not a Man United or Arsenal but we need to build and they have shown glimpses this season of what they can do.
“When they pass the ball well they can cut teams apart. We haven’t spent a lot of money but the spirit is fantastic. Maybe it’s not our year – things haven’t fallen for us -and decisions haven’t gone for us.
“But I’m really confident about next year, and looking forward to it because I think if we can add one or two additional players then we have got the nucleus to take the team forward.”
Despite their poor run of form in recent weeks, with only one win in six matches, Ince is keen for the Dons to finish on a high. Ending the campaign in a positive fashion is often a good indicator of how a team will fare next time out. And the Stadium: MK chief won’t take failure in 2010/11 so lightly…
“We don’t want to let the season just fall away. What I don’t want to do is spend the next six games losing every one and then go into the summer with a losing mentality.
“We want to get back to winning ways and we go to Norwich with things to aim for. I want to finish above Southampton and Bristol Rovers.
“The fans come to watch us and they pay good money so for me to jack it in and say it’s over is just not for me.”
Meanwhile, closer to home, City have today confirmed that former physiotherapist Neal Reynolds has rejoined the Canaries as ‘Head of Physiotherapy’.
The 36-year-old left Colney in 2008 to take up an assistant physio role at Premier League giants Arsenal but the popular figure in these parts, who was in Norfolk during the play-off final and promotion campaigns of the early ‘noughties’, is delighted to be back.
“I’ve had some time away gaining some great experience with Arsenal in the Premier League and now I’m really excited about coming back. I can’t wait to get started to be honest,” he told the club’s official website.