MK Dons will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to five games when they take on Southend United at Stadium MK this evening.
The men from MK1 have won three of their last four matches in all competitions and will be hoping to maintain that good form tonight against the Shrimpers, as they look to continue their climb back up the Sky Bet League One table.
Robbie Neilson’s side currently sit five points adrift of the top six, in 13th place but would likely close that gap by taking three points from this evening’s contest.
A victory would also make it back-to-back home wins for the first time this season – the Dons beat Fleetwood Town 1-0 in their last Stadium MK outing.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Southend will arrive in Milton Keynes tonight with intentions of leapfrogging the Dons in the Sky Bet League One table.
Phil Brown’s outfit, who sit one place below the men from MK1 due to a slightly inferior goal difference, have lost just once in their last four league fixtures, although that defeat came in their most recent outing – a 1-0 reverse away at Portsmouth.
Away from home this season, the Shrimpers have won just twice and lost on six occasions. They have scored a respectable 10 goals on their travels but have conceded a league-high 21 times.
Kieran Agard scored twice to earn the Dons a point away at in-form Charlton Athletic.
The striker, introduced as a second-half substitute, scored a terrific header to cancel out Josh Magennis’ early finish.
Agard then netted a 91st-minute penalty, soon after Scott Golbourne’s own goal, which ensured his side of a share of the spoils at The Valley.
Brett Pitman’s second-half header saw Portsmouth beat Southend 1-0 at Fratton Park, as the Shrimpers were made to regret a missed penalty from Nile Ranger.
Blues were awarded the spot-kick right on half time after Christian Burgess handled a shot but Ranger sent his effort over the crossbar.
The home side were lifted by that miss and broke the deadlock nine minutes after the interval through their talisman Pitman, who flicked in a Matty Kennedy cross – a goal which was enough to see Portsmouth secure all three points.
Robbie Neilson: “[Southend] are a very experienced team and a team that has been together for quite a long time. They have got good physicality in the team – [Nile] Ranger, [Anton] Ferdinand and [Ryan] Leonard in the midfield. They have also got good movement up front from [Simon] Cox and [Theo] Robinson.
“I expect them to be round and about the play-offs this year so we know it is an important game for us. If we can get a result it will push us on and show us where we are in this league.”
Phil Brown: “[MK Dons] are a decent side and they’re a footballing team. They’ve changed since the Karl Robinson days and they’ve now gone a little bit more physical as opposed to technical, however they still try and play out from the back.
“They have a promising front four. Chuks Aneke plays as a number 10 – probably the biggest number 10 in the division – and on the left wing Ariyibi has a lot of pace, so they’ve got a threat. The deficiencies at the back we need to exploit with our passing and with our confidence in front of goal.”
The Dons are without three players due to suspension – George Williams, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Ed Upson will all miss tonight’s match after totalling five yellow cards for the season.
Striker Osman Sow (ankle) and midfielder Ousseynou Cissé (knee) both remain sidelined with their respective injuries.
Anthony Wordsworth is unavailable to Southend this evening but John White and Michael Turner are expected to be fit.
Jason Demetriou faces a late fitness test but could feature. Defenders Stephen Hendrie and Rob Kiernan are both out, as is Ben Coker.
Tim Robinson takes charge of tonight’s clash – the first time he has refereed the Dons since their Sky Bet Championship fixture with Fulham in April 2016.
The West Sussex official, who ran the rule over Southend’s clash with Rochdale earlier back in September, has produced 55 yellow and eight red cards in 20 games this season. One of those dismissals came in the Shrimpers’ goalless draw with Dale.
Robinson’s assistant referees tonight are Darren Blunden and Daniel Robathan while the fourth official is Brett Huxtable.
Dons wins: 7
Dons wins at Stadium MK: 3
Last Dons win: 2-1, 17 Apr 2017 (Roots Hall)
Biggest Dons win: 3-1, 20 Feb 2010 (Stadium MK)
Draws at Stadium MK: 0
Last draw: 0-0, 26 Dec 2005 (Roots Hall)
Southend wins: 2
Southend wins at Stadium MK: 1
Last Southend win: 3-0, 22 Oct 2016 (Stadium MK)
Biggest Southend win: 3-0, 22 Oct 2016 (Stadium MK)
Kieran Agard to score first and MK Dons to win 2-0 – 40/1
Sky Bet tip
Kieran Agard to score a brace – 10/1
*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 6pm.
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A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle
Tickets for tonight's Sky Bet League One clash with Southend United at Stadium MK are priced from just £10 adults and £5 under-18s. while under-12 Young Dons (Plus) members can still attend for FREE.
Supporters can upgrade to East Centre for a £5 premium, while a seat in clubRed is a £10 premium on the regular ticket price. Groups of 20 can book tickets at a discounted rate of £10 adults and £3 under-18s.
To book tickets click here, visit the Box Office or call 01908 622988. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off.