mkdons.com details some of the storylines to follow heading into Saturday's Emirates FA Cup tie with Spennymoor Town...
With the managerial search still ongoing, head of coaching Richie Barker remains in control of the first-team squad for this Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Spennymoor Town.
Barker’s Dons performed well at Bramall Lane last weekend but despite that positive display and Darren Potter’s first goal of the season, they weren’t able to come away with a victory.
The Yorkshireman changed the formation against the Blades, opting for a 4-3-3 set-up which looked to be causing the hosts problems – however he was forced to change that formation 20 minutes in when Samir Carruthers was forced off with an injury.
Will Barker try again with 4-3-3 or will he revert back to the 4-2-3-1 line-up that was regular under Karl Robinson’s reign? Or, could we see an entirely new formation altogether?
While also a chance to progress through to the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup, Saturday’s clash is another opportunity to claim that elusive first home victory.
It has been a point of emphasis to improve on the results at Stadium MK, with many knowing that a strong home form can be a catalyst to having a successful season.
The Dons have some huge home fixtures coming up over the next couple of months, with the likes of AFC Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic and Swindon Town all set to visit Milton Keynes before the New Year – therefore the team will be eager to get back to winning ways at Stadium MK and use the home factor to their advantage in those upcoming clashes.
Managing the occasion
Saturday’s match will be one of the biggest in the history of visitors Spennymoor who, despite being located in Durham, are set to bring a number of supporters down to the game – all of whom should be in good spirits and fine voice.
That excitement and passion will no doubt be reflected on the pitch and, as such, it’s important the Dons are wary of the occasion and do not misjudge their opponents.
The men from MK1 have been here before against non-league opposition and have a 100% record in the competition against such teams at Stadium MK. They have, though, seen first-hand how difficult a non-league opponent can be away from home, having drawn with the likes of Farsley Celtic and Cambridge City over the years.
Full-strength or rotate?
While many would expect a league team to make changes for an Emirates FA Cup tie like this one, Barker may choose to go with a near if not full-strength side for this weekend’s clash in order to secure that long-awaited home success.
That said, there are players who will be eager for a chance to impress and play, namely striker Nicky Maynard, goalkeeper Lee Nicholls and winger Brandon Thomas-Asante, the latter of which netted a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday.