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Match Previews

Preview: Oldham Athletic

16 August 2012

MK Dons will hope to start the League 1 season with a bang when they play host to Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

This year the Dons have their eyes set on promotion, with the ambition of gaining it through the top two automatic places, but will have to overcome a number of hurdles throughout the season to do so. 

The first hurdle comes in the form of facing a tough Oldham side without three first team regulars. The Dons will be without Stephen Gleeson who serves the first of a three-match ban after the appeal to overturn his red card against Cheltenham Town was dismissed. 

Robinson will also have utility man Shaun Williams missing due to an ankle injury that is expected to keep him out of action for three weeks while the knee injury sustained by Mathias Kouo-Doumbe in the pre-season friendly against Kettering keeps him on the sidelines. 

Better news comes as Jon Otsemobor returned to training and could be part of Robinson’s plans for the opening League fixture while Antony Kay could be in line to make his home debut.

While it is far from ideal to have the trio missing, the Dons’ recruitment in the summer will allow Robinson and Mick Harford to field an equally strong squad. 

Speaking ahead of the game Robinson said: “The fact that we are starting the League season without Shaun Williams, Mathias Kouo-Doumbe and Stephen Gleeson is a bitter pill to swallow but we have acquired a strong squad here and we have to make sure we are in a position where we can win the game.

“I look at the strength in depth that we now have on the bench and see how far we have moved on. On Saturday we were able to bring Antony Kay, Ryan Lowe and Alan Smith on and I think that is a big sign of where we are going. We still have a fairly small first team squad but at any time one of them can play, which is the strength in depth we have needed.”

Dons head into the fixture on the back of a confidence building penalty shoot-out win over Cheltenham Town in the Capital One Cup. However, there is a greater pressure being back at stadiummk and it is important Robinson’s side make a strong start to their League campaign.

The Dons boss added:  “The fans will have an expectation from us and we have put ourselves under pressure to achieve this year and we can’t let ourselves down. I know how hard it is going to be to get three points from Oldham, I went to see them play on Monday and I thought they looked very, very strong. 

“They are probably one of the strongest Oldham teams I have seen for a long time. Paul Dickov has assembled a good squad there and it is not a game we think we can just stroll through, we have to put our all into it because if we don’t we will fall short.”

Dickov is expected to stick with the same side that suffered Capital One Cup defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday.

Jordan Slew and Jean-Yves Mvoto gave Latics a 2-0 half-time lead over last season's League One runners-up before being overwhelmed and going down to a 4-2 loss after the interval.

On-loan Blackburn youngster Slew was making his debut and is in line for his League bow at stadiummk, with fellow strikers Daniel Taylor and Matt Smith most likely having to settle for a place among the substitutes.

An absence of injury problems comes as a boost for Dickov, who suffered a succession of fitness worries as Oldham trailed away after Christmas last season. The Scot only has 21 senior professionals at his disposal this time around.

That number could swell to 22 before the weekend after the former Manchester City striker revealed he had a "50/50" chance of bringing in a new recruit in the coming days.

The left-side of midfield is known to be a position Dickov would like to strengthen.

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