MK Dons return to Stadium MK action today when they entertain local rivals Northampton Town in an important Sky Bet League One clash for both sides.
Robbie Neilson’s team will be eager to maintain their recent good home form in the second half of the season as they look to climb up the Sky Bet League One table. Three points on the weekend could see them move as high as three places, should results go their way elsewhere.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
Northampton appointed Justin Edinburgh as their new manager late last week and Saturday’s game at Stadium MK will officially be his first in charge of the Cobblers.
Edinburgh, whose Gillingham side beat the Dons 1-0 last month, will hope to get off to a positive start and turn around his new side’s recent run of bad results – a stretch which has seen the Sixfields club slip into the bottom of the table.
Town have lost nine of their last 11 Sky Bet League One outings, failing to score in six of them games. Two of those 11 games, however, resulted in victories for the Northamptonshire club and both came away from home.
The Dons’ Sky Bet League One clash with Port Vale last weekend was postponed due to the bad weather, which makes the Emirates FA Cup defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion a fortnight ago their last competitive match.
Neilson’s men performed well at the home of the Sky Bet Championship title contenders but were beaten by two goals from Israel internationals Berem Kayal and Tomer Hemed.
Kayal opened the scoring nine minutes in when he fired in off the post from the edge of the box. Brighton then secured their place in the Fourth Round through Hemed’s 72nd-minute header.
Cobblers equalised three minutes before the interval courtesy of Alex Revell’s header but it was the away side who would walk away with all the points – Josh Morris curling in the winner from the edge of the area with seven minutes left to play.
The Iron then broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when Stephen Dawson's cross was headed home by Kevin Van Veen.
Both teams had chances early on in the first half – the Cobblers going close through Matt Taylor and Marc Richards, who were both denied by Luke Daniels.
Northampton were unable to come out on top in front of new boss Justin Edinburgh, who watched from the stands as they went down 2-1 at home to second-placed Scunthorpe United.
Robbie Neilson: “They are a strong and physical side with good strikers at his level. Our defence needs to be top notch mentally but also physically. We need to stand up to it and if we can do that then the ability we’ve got should shine through.”
Last Dons win: 3-0, 19 Jan 2016 (Stadium MK)
Dons wins at Stadium MK: 4
Dons wins: 6
East’s assistant referees are Ian Hussin and Harry Lennard while the fourth official is John Busby.
The Wiltshire official, who last took charge of the Dons in April 2015, has 81 yellow cards in 19 games this season. Five of his appointments have come in the Premier League, which is also where two of his five red cards have been shown.
Select Group referee Roger East will be the man in the middle for this afternoon's game at Stadium MK.
Striker Keshi Anderson may make his debut for the Cobblers after joining on loan from Crystal Palace.
Northampton are without defenders Gabriel Zakuani (international duty) and Brendan Moloney (knee) while Aaron Phillips (hamstring) is a doubt.
Robbie Muirhead and Harvey Barnes, signed late this week, could make their debuts.
Neilson reported no fresh injury concerns in Thursday’s press conference which leaves Dean Bowditch (calf) and Scott Wootton (knee) as the only two absentees.
Justin Edinburgh: “We need to get some wins on the board as quickly as possible. We need to be a team that is hard to play against, someone who teams don’t want to play against and a team who fans want to come along and watch."
Last draw: 2-2, 9 Jan 2016 (Sixfields)
Draws at Stadium MK: 0
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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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
Keshi Anderson: 17/2
John-Joe O’Toole: 15/2
Marc Richards: 13/2
Alex Revell: 6/1
No goalscorer: 10/1
Chuks Aneke: 10/1
Ben Reeves: 9/1
Nicky Maynard: 11/2
Kieran Agard: 4/1
Northampton win: 13/5
Dons win: EVENS
Last Northampton win: 3-2, 4 Sep 2016 (Sixfields)
Northampton wins at Stadium MK: 0
Northampton wins: 2 !Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle.