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Match Previews

Preview: Carlisle United

30 August 2012

The Dons have re-focused their attentions to the League as they prepare for Saturday’s encounter against Carlisle United.

On the back of an excellent win over Blackburn Rovers in the Capital One Cup, the Dons head into the match with plenty of confidence. However, they will also approach the game with caution knowing all too well that their record against the Cumbrians is somewhat patchy.

In the eight meetings between the two teams the Cumbrians have come out on top on five occasions compared to the Dons’ three. There has never been a draw. 

Both sides have had a mixed start to League 1 this campaign, with one win, one draw and one defeat to their names. While many expected this division to be easier this season, Robinson knows every fixture presents another difficult team.

“I’m expecting a tough game; every game is a tough game in this League. We know they will come here and work hard. They play great football, I think Greg Abbott’s done a wonderful job so we have to make sure we prepare in the right manner to get the performance and result that hopefully our play deserves. If we don’t play well our play won’t deserve anything. It’s in our own hands.

“They play some good football and Carlisle have been a stumbling block for us over the years. They beat us at stadiummk last year so we are aware of the enormity of the challenge that lies ahead of us. 

“They’ve been tipped to be one of the teams challenging for the play-offs and we need to make sure that we conduct ourselves in the right manner.

“We’ve played well at stadiummk and hopefully we can continue that. We see our stadium as a fortress to us and we want to protect that – we want to make it a place where people don’t want to come and play. Hopefully we have shown that in the first two games at home so far.”

Karl Robinson will welcome back Antony Kay from suspension but the centreback may have a hard challenge on his hands trying to dislodge the excellent partnership of Shaun Williams and Gary MacKenzie. 

There was also good news in the form of Mathias Kouo-Doumbe returning to training after a month on the sidelines due to a knee injury but Saturday could come too soon for the Frenchman. Dean Lewington and Alan Smith are both missing due to bans.

New recruit Jimmy Bullard trained alongside his new team mates for the first time on Thursday and will be hoping he can have some involvement in Saturday’ game. 

Carlisle boss Abbott will be without Danny Livesey after the defender suffered a hamstring injury in training on Monday. Livesey missed the Capital One Cup victory over Ipswich and could be out for a further three weeks.

The Cumbrians continue to be without Lee Miller, who is sidelined with an ankle injury that could keep him out for the next few weeks and Rory Loy, who is still continuing his recovery from a broken leg. 

Birmingham loanee Jake Jervis will return to the squad after being cup-tied for the Ipswich clash on Tuesday. After making three changes against the Tractor Boys, Abbott may choose to re-shuffle his pack once more on Saturday.

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