Michael Jolley says Grimsby Town must be strong in both boxes when they face MK Dons at Stadium MK in Sky Bet League Two tonight (7.45pm).
Town face the Dons on the back of a 1-1 draw with Lincoln City in the Lincolnshire Derby at Blundell Park last weekend.
And Jolley expects Paul Tisdale’s side – who are unbeaten in the 2018-19 campaign – to pose a huge threat to Town.
Speaking on iFollow Mariners, he said: “I’m expecting a really tough game – they’re unbeaten so far – they haven’t given much away to the teams that they’ve played.
“They’ve been a tough team to score against, and they pose a threat like everybody does at this level.
“They’re a really strong team with a fantastic manager who’s got a huge amount of experience, and has been promoted out of this division before.
“And his teams are always in and around the top-six in this division so we know the challenge ahead of us is a huge one, and we’re ready to take it on!”
But Jolley insists the focus is on his side to successfully do what is asked of them against the Dons, who will be hoping to return to Sky Bet League One at the first time of asking.
He said: “These are the kinds of games we look forward to, and hopefully we can carry on like we did on Saturday.
“We need to be resilient. We need to be hard to beat, in terms of the way we defend and the way we’re organised and set-up.
“And we need to score a goal – or two or three – to go and win the game.
“We want to try and play on the front foot, we want to try and win, and make sure we’re difficult to beat.”
And the Town boss added that he’s impressed with his side’s progress so far.
He said: “I don’t really get too high when we win, and I don’t get too low when we lose. I try and look at the process – are we improving, and are we progressing?
“By the time the window closes, we’ll have a squad of players that’s better than the squad of players that we started the window with.
“It’s a squad of players that can grow and develop of the next year or two because we’ve reduced the age profile of the squad, and we’ve got players that I think have got more improvement in them.
“So it’s my job sometimes to look beyond the immediate and the here-and-now. It’s my job to try and build something that can be successful, or improve and move us forward, over the medium to long-term.”
“We’re focused on trying to improve, trying to perform well, and focused on the next challenge which is a big one against MK Dons.
“The two teams who have beaten us this season are Forest Green Rovers and Rochdale. Forest Green haven’t lost a match yet all season and Rochdale will trouble better teams than us this season because they’re a good League One team.
“Every team at this level has got a threat and we just have to be competitive and perform as best we can in every match, and see where that takes us.”