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Posted Mon 27 Jun 16

Preview: Port Vale

MK Dons will be looking to get back to winning ways this Saturday when they face Port Vale at Vale Park.

Despite playing well in both of their last two games, Robbie Neilson’s side have yet to taste victory in 2017– something they’ll be looking to change when they brave the cold in Staffordshire this weekend.

Saturday’s match is also an opportunity for the side to get their away form back on track after an inconsistent batch of results preceding their excellent start to life on the road – the men from MK1 have taken just five points from their last six away outings having collected 13 points from the six before that.

A triumph in Burslem could see the Dons climb four places to 14th should results go their way elsewhere – they are guaranteed to move up at least one position with a success, though, as opponents are just three points ahead with a worse goal difference.

Kick-off is at 3pm.
THE OPPOSITION
Port Vale will be looking to claim only their second victory in nine matches when they entertain the Dons on Saturday.

The Valiants, now under the temporary leadership of Michael Brown following Bruno Ribeiro’s departure, enjoyed a solid start to the 2016/17 season but results since October – three wins in 15 games – has seen them slip into the bottom half of the Sky Bet League One.

Their fall, however, is largely down to their away results, with their form at home one of the strongest in the division – unfortunately for the Dons!

The Staffordshire outfit have won seven of their 13 games at Vale Park, as well as drawing three. They’ve scored 21 times in those matches and conceded only 15 goals – one of the best records amongst teams outside of the top six.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite a spirited performance at Sky Bet Championship leaders Brighton & Hove Albion, the Dons were unable to progress in the Emirates FA Cup.

The Seagulls, on course for promotion to the Premier League, ran out 2-0 winners at their Amex Stadium courtesy of goals from Israel internationals Berem Kayal and Tomer Hemed.

Kayal opened the scoring nine minutes in when he fired in off the post from the edge of the box.

Chuks Aneke and Ben Reeves both had chances to draw the Dons level but it was Brighton who would find the crucial second goal, securing their place in the Fourth Round through Hemed’s 72nd-minute header.



Port Vale were also beaten by Sky Bet Championship opposition in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup – losing 4-0 away at play-off hopefuls Huddersfield Town.

Jack Payne put the Terriers ahead on 28 minutes but the scores could have been level soon after had Jerome Thomas not fired his effort over the crossbar.

The hosts doubled their lead with 17 minutes left to play through Kasey Palmer before Harry Bunn and Payne added to the scoreline late on.



FIGHTING TALK
Robbie Neilson: “It’ll be a tough game for us. They’ve had a couple of injuries recently but they’ve brought in a couple of players this week. Michael Brown is trying to change things around in terms of how they play so it’s a bit on an unknown for us.”

Michael Brown: "They're a great footballing team but they lost their away a little bit at the start of the year, hence Robbie going in. He's trying to raise their energy levels, they play it forward quickly but still with great rotations and movement - it will be a tough game."
TEAM NEWS
Paul Downing should return at centre-back after missing the Emirates FA Cup tie last weekend due to an injury.

Dean Bowditch, however, remains a few weeks off a comeback – he is out alongside long-term absentee Scott Wootton.

Vale look set to be without goalkeeper Jak Alnwick as well as centre-back and joint-top goalscorer Remi Sreete due to injury.

Caretaker boss Brown could, though, hand debuts to midfielder Callum Guy and winger Chris Eagles after the pair moved to Burslem earlier this week.

Forward JJ Hooper and goalkeeper Ryan Boot may also feature for the Valiants after returning from their respective loan spells.
OFFICIALS
Kevin Johnson will take charge of Saturday’s match at Vale Park.

The Somerset-based official, who last refereed the Dons in February 2016, has produced 57 yellow cards in 18 games this season. He has shown only two red cards.

Johnson’s assistants this weekend are Ricky Wootton and Peter Gibbons while the fourth official is Marvyn Amphlett.
HEAD TO HEAD
Dons wins: 3
Dons wins at Vale Park: 1
Last Dons win: 1-0, 22 Nov 2014 (Stadium MK)



Draws: 3
Draws at Vale Park: 0
Last draw: 0-0, 29 Aug 2005 (Vale Park)



Port Vale wins: 4
Port Vale wins at Vale Park: 3
Last Port Vale win: 0-1, 9 Oct 2016 (Stadium MK)
SKY BET ODDS
Result
Dons: 10/11
Draw: 5/2
Port Vale: 3/1

First goalscorer
Kieran Agard: 4/1
Nicky Maynard: 6/1
Ben Reeves: 9/1
Chuks Aneke: 9/1
No goalscorer: 8/1
Rigino Cicilia: 7/1
Anton Forrester: 8/1
Jerome Thomas: 17/2
Chris Eagles: 12/1

*All odds correct at the time of writing

Click here for more betting options for Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash – don't forget the Dons benefit every time you win with Sky Bet!
FOLLOW IT LIVE
MK Dons PlayerHD will have live commentary of this weekend’s match – click here to sign up for as little as £4.49 a month!

Supporters can also stay in touch with the Dons via mkdons.com’s matchday blog, which can be accessed by visiting the home page from midday on Saturday.

There will also be full coverage on the Club’s social media channels –
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat!

A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle.

Tickets for Saturday's clash with Port Vale are priced at £22 adults, £17 over-62s/young adults and £10 juniors while under-9s can go FREE when accompanied by a full-paying over-18.

To purchase tickets clickhere,visit the Box Office or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available from the Club until 5pm on Friday.