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Match Previews

Preview: PNE

7 March 2015

The Dons take on Preston North End this Saturday looking to leapfrog the Lilywhites and move back into the automatic promotion places.

Karl Robinson’s side are one point adrift of the Lancashire outfit which means a victory on the weekend would see them climb into second place in the Sky Bet League 1 table.

The men from MK1 are the division’s highest scorers with 68 goals to their name while their total of 17 league clean-sheets is more than any other team in English football’s third tier.

Robinson’s team are also still unbeaten in the league at stadiummk on a Saturday afternoon.

The opposition
Prior to their draw with Doncaster Rovers in midweek, Preston had won five straight without conceding a single goal – form which has seen them move into League 1’s top two places.

The Lilywhites have the meanest defence in League 1 having only conceded 30 goals in their 33 games so far this season. They are also a potent threat going forward, boasting the fourth-best scoring record in the division with 53 goals.

Fourteen of those league strikes have come courtesy of striker Joe Garner, whose return from injury has run parallel with Preston’s upturn in results. He has netted three times since his return, including a brace against Chesterfield.

View from the dugouts
Karl Robinson: “I don’t feel any different going into any game at the moment. Every game we go into we put pressure on ourselves to perform and Saturday won’t be any different.”

“We know how difficult Preston is going to be. Simon is a good manger as well – he’s someone who has been round the block and knows what he’s doing. They’re a really, really good side and when you look at their strike-force it’s phenomenal.”

Simon Grayson: “Everybody on the outside will call it a ‘crucial six-pointer’, but it is just the next game for us. Of course we understand the significance of it, as MK Dons will do.

“If we win we pull away from them, if they win, they go above us, but there are still plenty of games to play and everyone will pick up points and drop them over the next few weeks.

“We can only affect what we are doing and we will go into the game in good spirits, knowing what they can do - our philosophy is to go and win the match.”

Team news
The Dons will be without their captain Dean Lewington as he serves a one-match ban following the red card he received against Chesterfield on Tuesday.

Winger George Williams is also set to miss out while the knee injury he sustained in midweek continues to be assessed.

On a more positive note, Dean Bowditch and Mark Randall have returned to training although Saturday’s game may come too soon for them. A last minute decision will also be made on David Martin, who has missed the last five games with a thigh problem.

Dele Alli (ankle) remains a long-term absentee.

Preston, meanwhile, have a fully fit squad to choose from as Grayson prepares his players for their fifth game in 15 days.

Striker Jermaine Beckford is one player who could be brought into the starting XI after scoring from the bench in his last two outings.

Head to head
There has been nothing to separate the Dons and Preston on the last six occasions with all of those matches ending in draws.

The Lilywhites were the only team to beat the other when they won 1-0 at stadiummk back in December 2011 – the first clash between the two sides.

Betting
Sky Bet
Result:
MK Dons to win – 13/10
Draw – 12/5
Preston North End to win – 2/1

First goalscorer:
MK Dons – Will Grigg, Devante Cole 5/1
Preston North End – Joe Garner 11/2

Scorecast:
Carl Baker to score first and MK Dons to win 2-1 – 45/1

Click here for a full list of odds!

All odds correct at time of writing

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