mkdons.com previews tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Chelsea Under-21s at Stadium MK.
Robbie Neilson’s side will be looking to reach the Quarter-Final stages of the Checkatrade Trophy for the first time since its rebrand as they host Chelsea Under-21st in Round 2 of the Checkatrade Trophy.
MK Dons returned to winning ways last Saturday as they came from behind the defeat Maidstone United 4-1 in the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup. Kieran Agard found the net less than two minutes into his substitute appearance with Aidan Nesbitt and Peter Pawlett also finding the back of the cup victory.
Neilson will be looking to make it two consecutive cup victories and guide his side into the Quarter-Final stages of the competition.
Kick-off is at 7:45pm.
Chelsea Under-21s are more commonly known as the Development Squad in and around the London sides Cobham training ground. Neil Bath’s side currently occupy 9th place in the Premier League 2 – Division 1 table after recording two wins, five draws and suffering four defeats.
Their side is littered with a number of players who have experienced both Premier League and international football boasting the likes of Dujon Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kylian Hazard - the younger brother of Eden.
Chelsea qualified for Round 2 of the competition having not lost a game in 90 minutes during their Sothern Group D campaign. They did, however, lose on penalties to Plymouth Argyle and Yeovil Town before defeating Exeter City in their final Group Stage game.
MK Dons scored four second-half goals to beat Maidstone United at Stadium MK and progress through to the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Maidstone led at the break courtesy of Magnus Okuonghae’s tap in but winger Aidan Nesbitt drew the Dons level with a fine finish nine minutes into the second half.
Kieran Agard then came off the bench to score twice before fellow substitute Peter Pawlett put the seal on a comprehensive victory with a late goal - his first for the Football Club.
Meanwhile, Chelsea Under-21s last game was their 3-1 Checkatrade Trophy win over Exeter City in late November.
Reuben Reid headed Exeter in front but the Grecians were ahead for less than 25 minutes as Callum Hudson-Odoi capitalised on some loose defending to level the score by the break. Reece James headed against the woodwork after the restart but made no mistake in the air with 20 minutes remaining before Josh Grant sealed the points late on.
Robbie Neilson: “Joe’s team is littered with fantastic young talent, some of whom have been involved with the first team and others who have international experience. We are expecting a competitive evening.
“Tonight is the second of three successive matches here at Stadium MK and there is an opportunity for us to make it two wins out of two, following the Emirates FA Cup success on Saturday.”
Neil Bath: “It should be the toughest game we’ve had so far in the competition. We’ve seen MK Dons over a number of years develop a reputation as a team that likes to play football so we know it will be a big challenge for us but I’m sure when they see our team sheet and the experience we’ve added to the group, that will add a bit of motivation for them as well.”
Osman Sow (ankle) is nearing the end of his rehab programme, however, today’s clash with Chelsea will come too soon for the striker, meanwhile the same applies to both Callum Brittain and Alex Gilbey who missed Saturday’s win over Maidstone United - the Dons will also be without Ousseynou Cisse (knee).
There was no place for Ethan Ampadu in either Chelsea’s UEFA Youth League side or their Champions League side meaning the Welsh international may feature at Stadium MK. Neil Bath may also use the tie to give minutes to Charly Musonda, Kenedy, Jake Clarke-Salter and Kyle Scott.
Gavin Ward will referee tonight’s fixture at Stadium MK.
Mr Ward has been involved within the professional game since 2006 and throughout his career, he has overseen 15 MK Dons games during his career.
The Surrey-born official has so far this season officiated 20 games and has produced 52 yellow cards and two reds.
The assistant referees are Nicholas Cooper and Andrew Newbold while the fourth official is Ben Cooke.
There have been no previous meetings between MK Dons and Chelsea Under-21s, however, we have faced the senior side in the Emirates FA Cup in 2016 losing 5-1 with both Eden Hazard and Oscar scoring.
MK Dons win – 17/10
Draw – 5/2
Chelsea Under-21s win – 6/4
MK Dons to win 2-1 – 9/1
Sky Bet tip
Both Teams to Score and MK Dons to win – 7/2
*all odds correct at the time of writing
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Supporters can also stay in touch with the Dons via mkdons.com’s Match Centre, which can be accessed by visiting the home page from 6:45pm.
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A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle.
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