MK Dons will be out to secure their first league success of the season when they visit Blackpool this afternoon.
Robbie Neilson’s side were beaten by Wigan Athletic in their Sky Bet League One opener but responded in midweek by defeating Forest Green Rovers in Round One of the Carabao Cup.
The men from MK1 will, therefore, be looking to build on that triumph and get on the board for 2017/18 in their first away league fixture – the Dons have won their first road league match in each of the past two seasons.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
Blackpool kick-off their home campaign today and they, like the Dons, will be aiming to earn their first points of 2017/18.
The Seasiders, who secured an immediate returnt to third tier last season, were beaten 2-1 by Bradford City on opening day and fell to a second straight defeat in midweek, losing by the same scoreline to Sky Bet League One rivals Wigan Athletic in the Carabao Cup.
However, there is still plenty of optimism at Bloomfield Road despite the results, given two impressive performances by the division’s newcomers in their testing opening matches. They will provide a tough test for Neilson and his side.
The Dons progressed through to Round Two of the Carabao Cup courtesy of a 1-0 victory at Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday.
Gboly Ariyibi was the match-winner for Neilson’s outfit after bagging his first goal for the Club in the 20th-minute of extra-time – in some style too!
The men from MK1 could have won the game in normal time, with Ariyibi, Aaron Tshibola and Paul Downing all going close.
Forest Green had chances too, however, but were denied on a number of occasions by an impressive Lee Nicholls.
Blackpool couldn’t overturn a 2-0 first-half deficit as they crashed out of the Carabao Cup at the first-round stage.
Gary Bowyer and his team dominated the early stages of Tuesday’s tie but somehow found themselves two 2-0 behind at the break, courtesy of goals from Josh Laurent and Jordan Flores.
Tangerines' striker Armand Gnanduillet pulled one back with a header just before the hour mark but Blackpool missed a number of decent goalscoring chances late on as they exited the competition with their second straight defeat.
Robbie Neilson: “It’s going to be a tough one, especially coming off the back of an extra-time game against Forest Green – travelling back from there in the early hours and then having to travel to Blackpool.
“We’re going up there at a good time of year. The pitch is looking good and it will be a surface we can play some good football on. We hope there’s a good atmosphere and we hope it’s a good game – one we can enjoy and get three points from.”
Gary Bowyer: “We proved very difficult to beat (at home) last season and we’ve got to do that again this season. We’ve got to build on that, keeping doing everything we’ve worked on in raining and try to be as competitive as we can be against a very difficult team in MK Dons.
“It’s well documented the players (MK Dons) have brought in – to bring Tshibola and Ariyibi in from the Championship shows the level they are at. We’ve got to go and match that with our effort and commitment.”
The Dons welcome back Joe Walsh and Scott Wootton from suspensions.
Walsh hasn’t featured this season because of his ban while Wootton missed Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie after being sent off against Wigan Athletic.
Peter Pawlett (ankle) could return having sat out the 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers, leaving Chuks Aneke (hamstring) as the Dons’ only definite absentee.
Today's match looks to have come too soon for defender Kelvin Mellor, according to boss Gary Bowyer.
Jim McAlister is also out with a leg injury.
Sebastian Stockbridge will be the man in the middle this afternoon.
Stockbridge has taken charge of two matches in 2017/18, producing a total of five yellow cards but he has yet to make a sending off.
The Tyne & Wear official’s last Dons appointment came last October, when he refereed the 1-0 defeat to Port Vale at Stadium MK – that afternoon he booked nine players.
His most recent Blackpool match was also during the 2016/17 campaign – Stockbridge showed four yellow cards and one red card in the Seasiders’ 1-1 draw with Colchester United at Bloomfield Road.
The assistant referees are Richard Bartlett and Helen Byrne while the fourth official is Simon Mather.
Dons wins: 3
Dons wins at Bloomfield Road: 0
Last Dons win: 4-3, 24 Aug 2010 (Stadium MK)
Biggest Dons win: 3-0, 11 Feb 2006 (National Hockey Stadium)
Draws at Bloomfield Road: 0
Last draw: N/A
Blackpool wins: 3
Blackpool wins at Bloomfield Road: 2
Last Blackpool win: 2-0, 2 Dec 2006 (National Hockey Stadium)
Biggest Blackpool win: 2-0, 2 Dec 2006 (National Hockey Stadium)
Gboly Ariyibi to score first and MK Dons to win 1-0 – 45/1
*all odds correct at the time of writing
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Supporters can also stay in touch with the Dons via mkdons.com’s Match Centre, which can be accessed by visiting the home page from 2.30pm.
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A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle.
Tickets for today's clash with Blackpool are priced at £22 adults, £18 seniors and £10 under-19s while under-11s go FREE.
Travel is available to book for this fixture, with coach spaces priced at £29 adults and £28 senior and under-18 supporters. Season Ticket holders and members are entitled to a £1 discount on coach travel.
Tickets can now only be bought at Bloomfield Road ahead of kick-off - cash only.