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Match Previews

Preview: Bristol Rovers

18 November 2016

Just one month and one day after their thrilling clash at Stadium MK, MK Dons and Bristol Rovers go head-to-head once again this afternoon.

In the first meeting between the two sides back in mid-October, the Rovers fought back from 3-1 down to deny the Dons a first home victory with two late goals.

The men from MK1, therefore, will be eager to make up for that result by coming out on top at the Memorial Stadium and, in turn, end a run of six league matches without a victory.

It would also be a first away success in three games for a side who has been one of the best on the road this season.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Bristol Rovers are placed sixth in Sky Bet League One after 17 games, having taken 26 points courtesy of seven wins and five draws.

Four of those seven victories have come at the Memorial Stadium, a place where the Pirates have lost just twice all campaign. They have, though, only scored 13 times from their eight home matches which is a relatively low total for a team with so many wins on their own patch, while their total of 11 goals conceded is more than most other sides who have four or more home victories.

In terms of their last six league outings, Darrell Clarke’s side have won three, drawn one and lost two, scoring a total of 10 goals and conceding 11.

Dean Bowditch’s seventh goal of the season earned the Dons a point from their Stadium MK clash with Walsall.

The Saddlers opened the scoring midway through the first half when full-back Scott Laird headed a Josh Ginnelly cross inside the far post.

Walsall’s goal prompted a response from the men from MK1, who hit the post seven minutes into the second period through Bowditch. This was followed by an Erhun Oztumer effort which flew just wide of the post on the hour-mark.

Bowditch, though, struck home a left-footed strike in the 90th minute to deservedly earn his side a point and their second home draw in three games.

Gaffney scored his second of the game in the 96th minute to put the Rovers ahead for the third time and they were able to go the rest of the game without conceding another equaliser, even extending their lead through Taylor’s penalty.

Matty Taylor and Rory Gaffney scored either side of a Jordan Roberts goal to put the Pirates in the driving seat inside regulation time but Crawley substitute Matt Harrold netted against his old club to send the tie to extra-time.

Ten days after playing out a 1-1 draw in West Sussex, the two sides were forced to play 120 minutes in order to decide a winner after a 2-2 stalemate in normal time.

Bristol Rovers progressed through to the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup after a 4-2 extra-time victory over Crawley Town in their First Round replay.

“That said, we were the better team, by Darrell’s own admission, last time we played. It just shows that we can compete with a top-six team like that.”

“They are a good group of players who are extremely hard working. (Matty Taylor) is obviously grabbing the headlines and he’s a key part of what they do, but there is a bigger picture.

Richie Barker: “Credit to Darrell for what he has achieved there in the last couple of years. He’s kept the group together and kept the momentum going to where they are now sitting in League One.”

Last Dons win: 2-1, 2 Feb 2011 (Memorial Stadium)
Dons wins at Memorial Stadium: 2
Dons wins: 6

Miller’s assistant referees are Mark Derrien and Michael Webb while the fourth official is Christopher Wade.

The County Durham-based official has shown 28 yellow cards in 16 matches this season. He’s also made four dismissals.

Nigel Miller will take charge of today’s fixture, refereeing the Dons for the first time since last November when he oversaw the goalless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

In terms of injuries, Steve Mildenhall and James Clarke are out.

Bristol Rovers will have defender Daniel Leadbitter available after he missed their FA Cup replay in midweek due to suspension.

On a positive note, Joe Walsh is back available after missing last Saturday’s draw with Walsall due to his international commitments with Wales.

Potter (leg) has missed the last three games and hasn’t fully trained this week while Maynard (hamstring) suffered his injury in Tuesday’s session. Chuks Aneke (knee) and Scott Wootton (knee) remain sidelined.

The Dons will monitor Darren Potter and Nicky Maynard ahead of kick-off, with both players struggling through injury.

“They have good form away from home but our home form has been decent for a considerable amount of time. We'll see what happens on Saturday."

"They have to pick up their form but it is a funny old division this season. I'm pretty sure MK Dons will definitely pick up through the season.

Darrell Clarke: “(MK Dons) gave us a lesson in football at their place and we were fortunate to get a point. We are under no illusions that they will give us anything other than a tough game.

Last draw: 3-3, 18 Oct 2016 (Stadium MK)
Draws at Memorial Stadium: 1
Draws: 2

MK Dons PlayerHD will have live commentary of this afternoon's match, with coverage starting at 2.55pm –

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

*All odds correct at the time of writing

Jermaine Easter: 6/1
Ellis Harrison: 11/2
Matty Taylor: 10/3
No goalscorer: 12/1
Ryan Colclough: 15/2
Dean Bowditch: 7/1
Kieran Agard: 11/2
First goalscorer

Bristol Rovers win: 6/5
Draw: 5/2
Dons win: 21/10

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

A full match report will be available to view on straight after the final whistle. Tickets for today's clash at Bristol Rovers can be bought at the Memorial Stadium ahead of kick-off - tickets are available in seated and standing areas priced from £18 adults, £14 16-21s and £10 over-65s/under-16s.

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