Russell Martin takes charge of his first league match as manager this afternoon, as MK Dons face Bolton Wanderers at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Martin, who was appointed manager on November 3rd, has been tasked with reversing the Dons’ form, which reads as eight defeats from nine, and improving on their current standing of 21st in Sky Bet League One.
Half of those eight losses have come away from home, although it was on the road where the Dons last tasted success – their 3-0 win over Blackpool in mid-September.
While another triumph like that would be the perfect start to the Russell Martin era, the Dons boss will, no doubt, accept any form of victory.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
Bolton Wanderers, following their, 15-point deduction to start of the season, could move above par with a victory at the University of Bolton Stadium today.
The Trotters have enjoyed a change of fortunes under the management of Keith Hill and enter this contest on the back of successive league victories and having picked up seven points from a possible 12 in their last four.
Despite their upturn in form, Bolton remain the division’s lowest scorers with only seven goals to their name in 2019/20 – four of which have come in their last two outings – while at the back, only Southend United have conceded more goals.
LAST TIME OUT
MK Dons’ last Sky Bet League One outing was just a fortnight ago, when they were beaten 3-1 by Tranmere Rovers in Paul Tisdale’s final game in charge.
Tranmere took the lead through Rushian Hepburn-Murphy but Ben Reeves’ first goal since returning to the Club restored parity before the break.
A red card shown to Kieran Agard late in the first half swung the odds in favour of the visitors and they took full advantage, with Hepburn-Murphy striking twice more to secure a hat-trick and three points for Rovers.
Bolton Wanderers made it back-to-back league wins when they were last in Sky Bet League One action, beating Fleetwood Town 2-1 at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Chris O’Grady opened the scoring prior to the half-hour mark, before Darryl Murphy rounded the Fleetwood keeper and made it 2-0 five minutes later.
Josh Morris grabbed a late goal for the Cod Army but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation, as Bolton held on to secure their first home league victory since March.
Russell Martin: “[The University of Bolton Stadium] is a great place to go and play. I've played there a lot during my career. [Bolton] a team on the up, with a good manager and assistant who we know a lot about. It’ll be a test but one we're looking forward to.”
Keith Hill: “It will be a good game. They will have a bounce in their step with a new manager. We will expect a response from them but there's a measure I expect from our players and that's what we've been concentrating on this week.”
Russell Martin has no fresh injury concerns as he looks to pick an XI from the two sets of teams which played in the recent cup ties.
However, he is without the services of striker Kieran Agard who will serve the second game of his three match ban for the red card he received against Tranmere Rovers. The striker did have his appeal for the Leasing.com Trophy specific suspension overturned this week.
Meanwhile, Regan Poole is away on international duty. The defender is in Ryan Giggs’ 27-man squad for Wales’ UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary.
Rhys Healey (thigh) and Sam Nombe (knee) are making progress in their rehabilitation but remain sidelined.
Andrew Madley will take charge of today's match at the University of Bolton Stadium.
The Select Group official last refereed the Dons back in August 2015, when he oversaw the Sky Bet Championship clash with Preston North End at Stadium MK. That day, he booked five players and sent off Preston striker Jordan Hugill.
So far this term, Madley has umpired eight matches, three of which have come in the Premier League. He has shown 27 yellow cards and three red cards while awarding four penalties – two of those red cards and penalties came in his most recent outing.
His assistant referees are Ian Hussin and Simon Beck while the fourth official is Jonathan Hunt.
HEAD TO HEAD
MK Dons wins: 1
MK Dons wins at the University of Bolton Stadium: 0
Last MK Dons win: 1-0, 18 Aug 2015 (Stadium MK)
Biggest MK Dons win: 1-0, 18 Aug 2015 (Stadium MK)
Draws at the University of Bolton Stadium: 1
Bolton wins: 1
Bolton wins at the University of Bolton Stadium: 1
Last Bolton win: 3-1, 23 Jan 2016 (University of Bolton Stadium)
Biggest Bolton win: 3-1, 23 Jan 2016 (University of Bolton Stadium)
SKY BET ODDS
MK Dons win: 17/10
Bolton win: 7/5
Sky Bet boost: MK Dons to win at BTTS: 5/1
Click HERE for more Sky Bet odds!
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FOLLOW IT LIVE
Tickets, which can now only be bought at the University of Bolton Stadium, are priced at £20 adults, £12 seniors/under-23s and £10 under-18s. Sales will be cash only.
Can't make the match? Not to worry, you can listen to live commentary on iFollow MK Dons for just £2.50 - click HERE to purchase an Audio 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 2pm.
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 to iFollow MK Dons three hours after full-time and free-to-air from 1am.
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