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Match Previews

Preview: Walsall

14 March 2015

The Dons travel to Walsall on Saturday looking for a victory which could reignite their push for a top two finish in Sky Bet League 1.

Karl Robinson’s side are without a win in their last three outings but they are only four points adrift of second-placed Preston North End heading into the final 11 games of the 2014/15 season.

Despite their recent dip in form, the men from MK1 remain one of the division’s top scorers with 68 goals to their name. They also boast the third-strongest defensive record in League 1 having conceded just 37 times.

The opposition
Walsall, similarly to the Dons, have endured a tough run of results in the past few weeks, having lost four and drawn one of their previous six league matches.

While the Saddlers failed to score in all four of those defeats, they are still proving to be of one League 1’s toughest teams to break down having conceded just 39 times all season – a total which is tied for best out of all teams not in the top four.

With 11 games to go, they remain within touching distance of the play-off places and as well as looking to close their six-point gap on Saturday, they’ll also be looking to build up form ahead of their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley Stadium next weekend.

View from the dugouts
MK Dons manager Karl Robinson: “I really like the fluidity they have to their play and I like their manager as well, both as a person and as a manager. I really like what that club stands for too.

“They have achieved something amazing this year (reaching the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final) and we know how special that is. We wish them all the luck in the world in that final but both teams have got a job to do first.”

Walsall manager Dean Smith: “It shows how well MK Dons have done this season that even though they have lost five of their last seven games, they are still up there in the top four.

“They have the players at their disposal to turn it around. We are only too aware of how dangerous they will be and we are ready to face the threats that they possess.”

Team news
David Martin could make his return from a thigh injury at Walsall, having taken part in training this week.

Mark Randall is also back in practice after an abdominal problem while Ben Reeves and Dean Bowditch are nearing full match fitness after their lay-offs.

Dele Alli (ankle) remains the only definite injury absentee but he is expected to rejoin the Dons in the not too distant future, following treatment at parent club Tottenham Hotspur.
Walsall, meanwhile, are hoping both Anthony Forde and Jordan Cook (both groin) can return to action after spells on the sideline.

Sam Mantom (knee) came through 65 minutes in a reserve match earlier in the week and also may feature while Adam Chambers (ankle) is 50/50. Rico Henry (shoulder) won’t be available for the Saddlers, though.

Head to head
The Dons have beaten Walsall in three of their last four visits to the Banks’s Stadium, having previously only won once in the West Midlands.

Saturday will be the 20th meeting between the two sides and it’s the men from MK1 who currently boast the most victories with seven to their name – the Saddlers have triumphed six times while there have also been six draws.

Betting
Sky Bet
Result:
Walsall to win – 21/10
Draw – 12/5
MK Dons to win – 5/4

First goalscorer:
Walsall – Tom Bradshaw 11/2
MK Dons – Will Grigg, Devante Cole 11/2

Scorecast:
Carl Baker to score first and MK Dons to win 3-0 – 120/1

Click here for a full list of odds!

All odds correct at time of writing

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