New Dons have grounds for optimism

NEW stadium, new manager, new start. MK Dons are officially a new club in their own right divorced of any links from the old Wimbledon FC.All the cups, honours, medals and general memorabilia associated with Wimbledon have been returned to the borough of Merton in southwest London and it has been agreed that the MK Dons' own history officially now dates back to August 7, 2004.

By Derek Davis

NEW stadium, new manager, new start.

MK Dons are officially a new club in their own right divorced of any links from the old Wimbledon FC.

All the cups, honours, medals and general memorabilia associated with Wimbledon have been returned to the borough of Merton in southwest London and it has been agreed that the MK Dons' own history officially now dates back to August 7, 2004.

That means Ipswich have never met the MK Dons and tonight's game at the stadium:mk will be the first-ever cup match at the ground completed during the summer.

After losing to Bury on Saturday in the league, Paul Ince's side have yet to win a competitive match at their new home after moving from the National Hockey Stadium, where Town met the old club and won quite handsomely.

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The new arrangement means there will no longer be a boycott and indeed MK Dons fans have been welcomed into the Football Supporters' Federation for the first time.

Nearly 8,000 watched the opening match at the weekend, and with the Blues still attractive opposition and taking a healthy number of their own fans, a similar crowd is expected tonight.

Blues boss Jim Magilton is suitably wary of the club put together by music mogul Pete Winkleman and managed by old international adversary Paul Ince.

Magilton said: “They have the ambition and drive to make their mark this year and everything is in place. They have a forward-thinking chairman and a new manager.

“They had a blip on Saturday and Ipswich Town going there will be a scalp for them. There will be a few strange results in the Carling Cup this week and I just hope we are not one of them.”

Although Ince has had to sell top asset Izale McLeod to Charlton for £2.5million, he has moved to bring in a clutch of new signings.

Nathan Abbey, who spent a short spell at Town without playing, is a back-up keeper to Willie Gueret bought on Saturday from Swansea, while Alan Navarro has arrived from Ince's old club Macclesfield.

Magilton said: “I always enjoyed playing against quality midfielders and Paul was one of those. He and I are new managers and I look forward to locking horns with him.

“He did a good job in keeping Macclesfield in the division last year and this is a step up for him.

“We watched the pre-season and they looked very good and he has squad that can make a mark in League One this year.

“I am in no doubt and the players will be in no doubt that this is will be a real tough game.”

One player Town won't face is Drissa Diallo, who was red-carded on Saturday and unless his appeal is upheld, will be suspended tonight.

Magilton laughed: “Drissa being suspended means no cuts for our lads, because he is an accident waiting to happen.

“He goes in hard and takes everything, including the kitchen sink with him, when he tackles.”

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