After ending 2016 on a positive note, MK Dons will be looking to start the New Year in winning fashion when they take on Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium today.
The men from MK1 have now triumphed three times in their last six league outings, having won just four in 18 games previous to that. In all competitions, Robbie Neilson’s side have been victorious in three of their last five matches.
They also remain one of the strongest teams away from home in the division with only two other sides winning more games on the road than the Dons (5). Their total of 11 away league goals conceded is also tied for the third-best record in Sky Bet League One.
The Spireites go into this afternoon's meeting on the back of successive defeats but they’ll have confidence of coming out on top having beaten the Dons just over five weeks ago.
Since that success at Stadium MK, Danny Wilson’s side have collected two more wins with an impressive 1-0 win at home to second-placed Bolton Wanderers a standout triumph. They have, however, also been beaten three times, including a heavy 5-2 loss at Peterborough United.
At home, Chesterfield have been the epitome of inconsistent having won five and lost five, as well as draw once. They’ve scored 17 goals in 11 home outings while conceding 19 at the other end.
The Dons were able to end a difficult year on a positive note courtesy of a 3-2 success over Swindon Town at Stadium MK.
Neilson’s side started well and took advantage of their dominance by building up a two-goal lead – Kieran Agard grabbing both goals inside the opening 26 minutes to take his total for the season to eight.
Luke Norris pulled one back for his side just before half-time but Nicky Maynard’s 100th career goal restored the two-goal advantage on 54 minutes.
The Robins would score once more to set up a nervy finish but the men from MK1 were able to hold on to secure a valuable three points.
The Spireites weren’t able to get themselves back into the contest although substitute Rai Simons went close with a late effort which he blazed over the crossbar.
Ched Evans then had a penalty appeal turned down in the second half before Jerome Thomas’ cross-turned-shot looped over Fulton to give Port Vale the lead.
Vale striker Rigino Cicilia went close to opening the scoring on 37 minutes but was denied by Ryan Fulton.
Chesterfield fell to their second straight defeat away at manager-less Port Vale on Friday night.
Robbie Neilson: “Hopefully, we’re beginning to move away from that band at the bottom and we’re moving into the middle and then maybe battling at the top – there are plenty of games left for us to do that.”
Last Dons win: 1-0, 19 Aug 2014 (Proact Stadium)
Dons wins at the Proact Stadium: 1
Dons wins: 4
His assistant referees today are Matthew Perry and Danny Markham while the fourth official is Scott Oldham.
England, who refereed the Emirates FA Cup tie with Charlton Athletic at The Valley earlier this season, has shown 62 yellow cards this season and given five players their marching orders.
Darren England will take charge of the Dons’ first outing of 2017.
Goalkeeper Tommy Lee and defenders Dan Jones and Paul McGinn are all out for the Spireites.
Chesterfield will hope to have midfielder Conor Dimaio back after he missed Friday’s defeat at Port Vale with a knee problem.
George Baldock (hamstring) is getting closer to a return but won’t feature against Chesterfield while Scott Wootton remains a long-term absentee. Loanee Ryan Colclough has returned to Wigan Athletic.
The Dons have Darren Potter back from suspension but will be without Dean Bowditch (calf) for up to six weeks – the forward suffered the injury during the Boxing Day defeat to Charlton Athletic.
Danny Wilson: “If (my players) have got any character, bottle or spirit they’ve got to battle even harder and be better than this evening. They can do that – we saw it two weeks ago against Bolton but we don’t see it enough and we don’t see it week in week out.”
Last draw: 1-1, 17 Mar 2012 (Proact Stadium)
Draws at the Proact Stadium: 1
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
Kristian Dennis: 15/2
Jay O’Shea: 13/2
Conor Wilkinson: 6/1
Ched Evans: 5/1
No goalscorer: 11/1
Ben Reeves: 9/1
Daniel Powell: 7/1
Nicky Maynard: 13/2
Kieran Agard: 9/2
Chesterfield win: 5/2
Dons win: 21/20
Last Chesterfield win: 3-2, 22 Nov 2016 (Stadium MK)
Chesterfield wins at the Proact Stadium: 0
Chesterfield wins: 5 There will also be full coverage on the Club’s social media channels –
Supporters can also stay in touch with the Dons via mkdons.com’s matchday blog, which can be accessed by visiting the home page from midday.
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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 Chesterfield can be bought ahead of kick-off at the Proact Stadium - tickets are priced at £22 adults, £15 over-65s/17-20s and £11 under-16s.