Mumba's MK Dons Preview
When Argyle lost 5-0 to Milton Keynes Dons on the final game of last season, Bali Mumba was a Norwich City player on loan at Peterborough United – but he knows all the Pilgrims’ conclusion to the 2021/22 campaign.
The defeat put paid to Argyle’s ambitions of making the Sky Bet League One play-offs, while opponents MK Dons made the semi-finals before losing to Wycombe Wanderers.
Fortunes are a little different so far this season. Argyle top the table having won 10 of their 13 games so far, while MK Dons, who have played a dozen times, have just three victories and are third from bottom in the table.
Mumba’s focus, and that of the rest of the squad, is trying to continue the stellar start to the season by playing to their strengths at Stadium MK.
“We all know what happened with them coming here on the last day of last season,” said Bali. “It is a game in which we would like to get one back on them. They are a strong team, a good team, and we have to remain incredible focused to give out a result.
“Our main focus is on us, what we can do and our strengths. I think if we worry about that, play our game first, make sure everyone does their job, hopefully we will be fine and Saturday can be another good result for us.”
Bali has started 12 of Argyle’s 13 league fixtures, often at right wing-back, but occasionally on the left side too, as he and captain Joe Edwards have generally filled those two important berths.
It does not seem to matter to Mumba which flank he occupies.
“I quite enjoy the rotation that me and Joe have,” he said. “It gives us an extra option, and it is something the gaffer can look at and think: ‘We trust this player to be on this side this week, and we next week we trust him to play on the left.’ As a player, I don’t mind which side I am on.”
Mumba credits the togetherness of the playing squad as well as the meticulous preparation of the coaching team for Argyle’s stunning start to the season.
He said: “There’s a lot of things that have been into it for us to be in the position we are in. How hard the staff work, and the manager – they put a lot of thinking into the games. Credit to them for the position we are in.
“Also, the players. We’ve got a great bond. I think it is showing on the pitch. We all understand each other quite well. Off the pitch, the togetherness is good. There is no-one out there who I would think: ‘I don’t want to hang out with him.’ Everyone is great.
“We have to be the ones going onto the pitch and performing. With the attitude that we have in the dressing room, and the potential we have, it’s not a shock to me that we are the position that we are in. But there is a lot that has been put into it for us to be where we are. It’s working so far, and hopefully it carries on that way.”