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Match Previews

Preview: Gillingham

16 December 2016

MK Dons will be looking to make it three victories from three this afternoon when they face Gillingham in their final fixture before Christmas.

Robbie Neilson’s men have won their last two games in all competitions, as well as their last two league matches. Their impressive form has seen the climb the Sky Bet League One table and has also given themselves a realistic chance of ending 2016 in the top half of the table.

On the road, the Dons remain one of the strongest teams in the division having won half of their 10 away league matches and drawn two. Their away points total of 17 is bettered by only three other teams in Sky Bet League One.

The men from MK1 can take that points total to 20 with another success today – the perfect Christmas present for Neilson and his resurgent side.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Gillingham sit one place above the Dons in the Sky Bet League One table but, like their opponents, their form has improved in recent weeks.

The Gills have won three of their last five league outings, including an impressive 3-0 triumph at home to play-off contenders Rochdale. They do, though, go into this weekend’s match on the back of a heavy 4-0 reverse to Bolton Wanderers.

At the MEMS Priestfield Stadium, Justin Edinburgh’s side have been tough to beat, losing just two of their 10 home matches. They have won four of those games, scoring nine goals and conceding four times.

The Dons progressed through to the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup after a 3-1 extra-time win over Charlton Athletic.

Neilson’s men took the lead after six minutes when Daniel Powell raced onto a Darren Potter through-ball and cooly finished past Dillon Phillips.

Charlton equalised before the break and then went close to winning the tie in second-half stoppage time but saw Nicky Ajose denied brilliantly by Lee Nicholls.

Within minutes of extra-time beginning, the Dons edged back in front courtesy of Ben Reeves’ stunning 20-yard strike.

Dean Bowditch then won the tie less than two minutes later with his ninth goal of the season – a calm one-on-one finish set up by Reeves.

Sammy Ameobi then completed the scoring for Bolton, cutting inside and hammering a shot into the top corner.

Jake Hessenthaler wasted a good opportunity to reduce the deficit early in the second half and the Gills were paid to pay for that miss when Madine scored his second goal of the night.

Gary Madine headed the Trotters in front before Josh Vela made it two with a composed finish from Zac Clough’s back-heeled pass.

Gillingham were beaten heavily by second-placed Bolton Wanderers in their Monday night clash at the Macron Stadium.

Robbie Neilson: “They are strong with three good players in the middle. They’ve got two wide guys in Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Frank Nouble that, if you allow them to play, they are good players. It’s going to be a tough game but it’s one we want to win.”

Justin Edinburgh: “Teams always seem to get an immediate reaction from a change in manager so we expect them to be buoyed. They’ve had a couple of good results of late and their finding confidence but take the Bolton result out of the equation and we’re not too far away ourselves.”

The Dons are hopeful of having George Baldock available despite the right-back limping off during Tuesday’s Emirates FA Cup tie.

Last Dons win: 4-2, 9 Aug 2014 (Stadium MK)
Dons wins at MEMS Priestfield Stadium: 0
Dons wins: 2

Huxtable’s assistant referees are Carl Fitch-Jackson and Louis Marks while the fourth official is David Rock.

The Devon-based official, in his first EFL season, has shown 72 yellow and two red cards – one of his two dismissals came in his last outing.

Brett Huxtable will take charge of the Dons for the very first time this afternoon.

Defender Bradley Garmston is also suffering with a hamstring injury but while he could play, fellow defender Aaron Morris (knee) and midfielder Lee Martin (ankle) are long-term absentees.

Gillingham could have goalkeeper Jonathan Bond (groin) back in the side but midfielders Billy Knott and Chris Herd are both doubts.

That leaves Joe Walsh as the Dons’ only real injury concern as the defender remains sidelined with an ankle problem. Scott Wootton (knee) is a long-term absentee.

Kieran Agard is also fit to play after being left out of the starting XI for precautionary reasons in midweek while fellow striker Nicky Maynard is back in contention following a hamstring injury. George C Williams is available too after missing the win over Charlton Athletic due to the terms of his loan.

A full match report will be available to view on straight after the final whistle.

There will also be full coverage on the Club’s social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat!

Supporters can also stay in touch with the Dons via’s matchday blog, which can be accessed by visiting the home page from midday.

to sign up for as little as £4.49 a month! here MK Dons PlayerHD will have live commentary of this afternoon’s match – click

for more betting options for today’s Sky Bet League One clash – don't forget the Dons benefit every time you win with Sky Bet! here Click

*All odds correct at the time of writing

Frank Nouble: 7/1
Bradley Dack: 13/2
Cody McDonald: 6/1
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas: 5/1
No goalscorer: 10/1
Ben Reeves: 10/1
Ryan Colclough: 7/1
Dean Bowditch: 6/1
Kieran Agard: 5/1
First goalscorer

Gillingham win: 2/1
Draw: 12/5
Dons win: 13/10

Last Gillingham win: 4-2, 14 Feb 2015 (MEMS Priestfield Stadium)
Gillingham wins at MEMS Priestfield Stadium: 3
Gillingham wins: 3

Last draw: 2-2, 27 Mar 2010 (MEMS Priestfield Stadium)
Draws at MEMS Priestfield Stadium: 2
Draws: 2 Tickets for the clash with Gillingham can be bought at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium ahead of kick-off, priced from £10 adults, £5 over-65s/under-18s and FREE for under-12s.

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