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Match Previews

Preview: Walsall

6 September 2012

Milton Keynes Dons will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to the Bescot Stadium to take on Walsall on Saturday.

Karl Robinson’s side enjoyed success last time they made the trip to the West Midlands, winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Dean Lewington and Jabo Ibehre.

After being knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the hands of Northampton Town on Tuesday, the Dons will re-focus their attention on the League with Dean Smith’s Saddlers providing the opposition.

The most recent clash between the two sides however, came on the last day of the 2011/12 season when a Will Gregg goal was enough to ensure the Dons headed into the play-offs on a sour note.

“Gary deserves it, he’s good as any out there and his performances this year have been some of the best he’s had in an MK Dons shirt.

“It’s great our players are getting a chance to go and play international football.

Although he’d much rather have him in his starting XI, Robinson is understandably proud of his reliable centre-back and believes he thoroughly deserves his call-up.

One player who will definitely miss this weekend’s game is defender Gary MacKenzie who was called up to the Scotland squad late on Monday evening and will be pushing to make an appearance this weekend.

“I’d rather have no concerns but one’s better than two or three so we’re really strong and we’re looking forward to getting on the bus and getting to Walsall and perform for our fans; that’s an important thing for Saturday.”

“Jimmy’s got a knock and so he’s not trained today. We’ll assess it by tomorrow but he’ll probably be the only one missing.

Both Antony Kay and Alan Smith made their return from suspension against the Cobblers and with Mathias Kouo-Doumbe having a week’s worth of training under his belt, Robinson has a near fully fit squad to choose from with Jimmy Bullard the only injury concern

“He’s an MK Dons stalwart; he’s been through thick and thin with the Football Club and he really does wear his heart on his sleeve. When you’ve got people like that, it doesn’t half make my job easier.” 

“Dean’s a massive influence on the Football Club and every individual on the pitch.

Captain Dean Lewington is once again available for selection for the League 1 encounter after completing his three-match ban. The Dons captain is expected to make an immediate return to the squad, and Robinson revealed his delight at having the defender back for selection.

“If we perform to the levels we know we can, we’re a hard team to play against but I also know, if Walsall turn up, how hard our challenge is going to be as well.”

“I say this every week and I’m probably sounding like a broken record but if we don’t turn up, we won’t get the result that we deserve.

“They’ve got some good forwards who can change the game at any time. We know we’re going to be in for a tough test on Saturday but the players are looking forward to the challenge.

“The manager and staff there have assembled a good, young squad that’s competitive and we know we’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game.

Speaking to, he said: “They’re a good side.

After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, Walsall have made a slow start to 2012 but boss Robinson is wary of the challenge his side faces at the weekend.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and him being the catalyst behind everything we do. He’s certainly come back in tremendous form and he deserves the opportunity to go away and represent Scotland.”

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