MK Dons welcome Rochdale to Stadium MK this evening, looking to secure an important three points in front of their home supporters.
Russell Martin’s men, who have one win and one draw to their name this month, sit one place and three points above the bottom three in the Sky Bet League One table, and will be looking to increase that gap tonight.
They could move to within a point of opponents Rochdale with a victory, while climbing above AFC Wimbledon in 19th if they fail to win at home to Burton Albion.
The Dons will lean on their recent home form under Martin, which saw them win three games in a row over the festive period. They scored a combined seven goals during that run and conceded just once.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Rochdale arrive in Milton Keynes with the opportunity to move 10 points clear of the bottom three with a victory.
Brian Barry-Murphy’s side have picked up just seven points from their last eight matches, but three of those came courtesy of an impressive away win at promotion-chasing Rotherham United back at the start of December.
It’s on the road where Dale have been most impressive all season, collecting 16 points from 14 away fixtures – the sixth-best record in the division. Their five away wins is bettered by only Rotherham United and Ipswich Town.
Ian Henderson is their main danger man with an impressive 12 goals to his name so far this term. Callum Camps has contributed six goals from midfield while Aaron Morley and Stephen Dooley are regular contributors.
LAST TIME OUT
A stunning strike from Lynden Gooch saw MK Dons beaten 1-0 by Sunderland at Stadium MK 10 days ago.
Russell Martin’s side dominated the first half but saw the Black Cats respond in the second.
Sunderland’s second-half pressure finally told when Gooch struck from 20 yards to seal victory and condemn the Dons to their first home defeat in four games.
Rochdale were in action this past weekend, earning a point at home to Gillingham courtesy of a 2-2 draw.
Dale took the lead from the penalty spot after Rhys Norrington-Davies was brought down by the Gillingham goalkeeper. The Gills, though, equalised before half-time through Jordan Roberts.
Roberts netted a second after the break to edge the visitors in front but Rochdale secured a share of the spoils in the 68th minute through a fantastic Stephen Dooley finish.
Russell Martin: “I'm respectful of Rochdale, their manager and how they play. We've watched quite a bit of them and, on their day, they're really, really good and they can pass it around as well as anybody in this division.”
Lee Riley: “The preparation for the game will be mainly recovery for the players and starting to look at MK Dons and how they play, and how we play against them. We don’t look at the game in regard to the league table. We’ll just prepare for it as we would do any other game and as we always do.”
MK Dons hope to have Alex Gilbey available for selection after the midfielder missed the defeat to Sunderland with a knee problem.
Gilbey pulled out during the warm-up prior to the clash with Sunderland at Stadium MK but is expected to be involved tonight.
Boss Martin revealed no fresh injury concerns in his pre-match press conference.
Rochdale have two injury doubts in the form of Callum Camps and Robert Sánchez.
Midfielder Camps is expected to miss out with a groin injury while on-loan goalkeeper Sánchez could return from a similar issue after receiving treatment at his parent club.
Charles Breakspear will run the rule over tonight’s affair at Stadium MK.
The Surrey official has brandished 100 yellow cards in 23 matches this term, while also dismissing 12 players.
One of those 12 red cards came when he took charge of the Dons’ Leasing.com Trophy tie with Coventry City back in November. That evening, he also brandished five yellow cards.
His assistant referees are Michael Webb and Louis Marks while the fourth official is Ollie Williams.
HEAD TO HEAD
Dons wins: 7
Dons wins at Stadium MK: 2
Last Dons win: 3-2, 16 Sep 2017 (Stadium MK)
Biggest Dons win: 4-1, 5 Mar 2011 (Crown Oil Arena)
Draws at Stadium MK: 3
Last draw: 0-0, 21 Feb 2018 (Crown Oil Arena)
Rochdale wins: 4
Rochdale wins at Stadium MK: 1
Last Rochdale win: 2-0, 22 Oct 2019 (Crown Oil Arena)
Biggest Rochdale win: 5-0, 27 Jan 2007 (Crown Oil Arena)
Click HERE for more Sky Bet odds!
ELSEWHERE IN SKY BET LEAGUE ONE
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Fleetwood Town v Coventry City
Lincoln City v Portsmouth
Rotherham United v Ipswich Town
Wycombe Wanderers v Blackpool
Bolton Wanderers v Bristol Rovers
FOLLOW IT LIVE
Tickets are priced at £22 adults, £17 seniors and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE with an accompanying adult.
To book tickets click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off from the Box Office.
Can't make this evening's match? Not to worry, you can watch the game live on iFollow MK Dons for just £10 - click HERE to purchase a Video Match Pass!
Supporters can also stay in touch with the action via mkdons.com’s Match Centre, which can be accessed by visiting the home page from 6pm.
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 along with full reaction from Russell Martin and a player. Highlights will be available three hours after full-time.