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Tonight will bring about one of the rare occasions when Clive Allen will be wishing a miserable evening on a family member.

Tonight will bring about one of the rare occasions when Clive Allen will be wishing a miserable evening on a family member.

We head up the M1 to the National Hockey Stadium to take on Milton Keynes Dons, managed by Clive's cousin and former QPR and West Ham midfielder, Martin - AKA 'Mad Dog' - Allen.

Coming up against a relative is nothing new for the now Development Coach and he said that, if anything, the family affairs only increased the intensity during his playing days - and there are no divided loyalties now.

"I've had situations like this over my career when I've come up against Martin, the same with Paul," reflected Clive. "We come from a big footballing family and background and when you cross that white line it really doesn't matter who you are playing against. It might even heighten the tension in terms of wanting to win because we've always been very competitive with each other.

"I wish Martin all the very best and he is doing a great job there, but certainly not against us in the cup. It is a potential banana skin and I know he will be relishing pitting himself against Martin Jol and Tottenham Hotspur. It will be one where he will benefit greatly from getting a result.

"I'll be desperate for us to win on the night, I'll shake his hand and give him a hug before and after, but when it comes to our professional lives we are highly driven and want things to go our own way."

Clive went on to report that his cousin believes he is in at the start of something big at MK Dons, with a new stadium looming on the horizon as the club seeks to develop in its new location.

"He has taken to management and worked very hard at it at Barnet and Brentford," added Clive on Martin. "I've spoken to him about it and he feels he's got a great opportunity at MK Dons, they've got huge ambitions for the football club, he works really well with the chairman and is very excited about the position he is in there.

"For them to draw us in the early stages of the Carling Cup is a massive boost for them and it is a game that I know will be mouth-watering for Martin.

"The whole ethos of the club is about making great strides quickly and he was very impressed with the chairman's vision of where the club was going and, in particular, the new stadium they are building. It is gearing up for a much higher level of football and Martin has been given the opportunity to be in control of that.

"I know they will be very enthusiastic against us, well drilled - no doubt about that - very competitive and it is a game where we will have to be on our guard. We will have to play well and do a professional job or we could come unstuck."

In conclusion, Clive pondered whether the nickname 'Mad Dog' is an appropriate label for his cousin.

"It was something I think he played on during his playing days. He was a tenacious midfield player, let's put it that way, so I can understand where it came from. At times he's mad, not a dog, but mad - so I'd say it is half true!"