Dons ready for 'biggest game'

Pete Winkelman's MK Dons host Manchester United

Pete Winkelman's MK Dons host Manchester United

First published in National Sport News © by

Chairman Pete Winkelman has described the visit of Manchester United as the biggest game in MK Dons' short history.

Winkelman also believes the expected 29,000 sell-out for the Capital One Cup second-round tie on Tuesday night will provide an indication of the club's potential.

It is 11 years since Wimbledon FC relocated more than 50 miles north of their south-west London home to the Buckinghamshire town of Milton Keynes. The name was changed to MK Dons the following year in 2004.

During that time, Premier League teams have visited stadium:mk, but none of the stature of the 20-time English champions.

Winkelman said: ''It's a terrific way to mark the 10-year anniversary of the club. It's taken us that long to get a really, really great cup draw. It will be the biggest game in the club's history.

''I remember watching the draw. We were just waiting and waiting and it just kept going. Then right at the end there are just two teams left in the hat and MK Dons came out at home. By that point we knew it had to be Manchester United but we still wanted their name to be said just to make sure it was true!

''It was really amazing. It shows just how exciting a cup draw can be, because you can get one of the biggest clubs in world football at the end of it. And I'm so pleased it's here, at stadium:mk. We've finished the stadium, and getting Manchester United here really sends out that message about what we've achieved here in Milton Keynes.

''Sometimes you need the big Premier League clubs to come here to send that message out. It couldn't be better and I cannot wait. It's so unbelievable, but it's real, they're coming here and we're all really looking forward to it.''

Three MK Dons players are fighting to be fit. Goalkeeper David Martin and full-back Lee Hodson missed the goalless draw with Coventry on Saturday with knocks sustained during the win at Chesterfield. Danny Green (hamstring) missed both the trip to Derbyshire and the stalemate against the Sky Blues and the winger will also be assessed.

Samir Carruthers made his return from a thigh strain at the weekend as a second-half substitute and the midfielder will hope to be involved from the start on Tuesday night.

Recent signing Jordan Spence, fellow defender Tom Flanagan, midfielder Mark Randall and forwards Tom Hitchcock and Benik Afobe are also vying for starting places.

United defender Chris Smalling and midfielder Ander Herrera will have their condition assessed ahead of the second-round tie.

Smalling came off in the first half of Sunday's 1-1 draw at Sunderland with a groin injury, while Herrera sat out the clash due to an ankle problem.

It is not expected that new signing Marcos Rojo's work-permit situation will be resolved in time for him to make his debut at stadium:mk and it remains to be seen whether fellow defender Rafael will be deemed fit enough to feature.

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