MK Dons travel to Millwall on Saturday full of confidence after two positive results.
A victory in the capital this weekend would see the men from MK1 end a testing three-game period with seven points to their name – this coming on the back of three-game stretch where the side claimed just one point from a possible nine.
They could also find themselves in the top half of the Sky Bet League One table for the first time since early October, should results go their way elsewhere too.
A large factor in the recent good form has been the defensive performances – Tuesday’s clash at the Northern Commercials Stadium was only the second time the Dons had conceded more than one goal in a game since the turn of the year.
They’ve also began to find their feet in front of goal, once again, after a difficult run at the start of February. Neilson’s side have scored twice in each of their last two outings, with all four goals coming in the first half.
The Dons will be hoping to combine those two components into a complete performance this weekend and give themselves a chance of ending the week amongst the top 12 in Sky Bet League One.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
In the Dons’ way this weekend are a Millwall side who are undefeated since the middle of December.
As well as progressing through to the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup courtesy of three Premier League scalps, the Lions have also collected seven Sky Bet League One victories – a superb run of form which has them in possession of a play-off place.
Still not impressed? Neil Harris’ men haven’t conceded a single goal since the 21st January – that’s 810 minutes without being breached, despite facing sides such as Leicester City and Watford.
Whichever way you look at it, the Dons are in for a difficult afternoon in the capital but while a victory may be appear a tough task, the chances of coming away with at least a point are there – six of Millwall’s last 10 league matches have ended in draws.
The Dons built on their 2-1 win over Shrewsbury Town by earning a point away at Bradford City on Tuesday evening.
Stuart O’Keefe put the men from MK1 ahead four minutes in courtesy of a deflected effort which wrong-footed goalkeeper Colin Doyle.
City equalised through a Tony McMahon penalty but George Williams restored the Dons’ lead in bizarre circumstances when his cross looped over Doyle and went in after hitting both posts.
Neilson’s side weren’t able to take their advantage into the break, though, as Charlie Wyke headed in a Billy Clarke corner on 43 minutes to bring Bradford level once again.
The second half proved to be less eventful, although both sides did have chances to win it. James Meredith went close for the Bantams while Kieran Agard had the Dons’ best chance for a third late on.
Millwall remained resolute throughout the remainder of the game, extending both their unbeaten run and clean-sheet record intact.
Gregory, who had missed two late spot-kicks in the Lions’ 0-0 draw with Oldham Athletic last weekend , took the penalty himself and put his recent woes behind him by converting from 12-yards.
The decisive moment came nine minutes into the second period when Lee Gregory was brought down by Anthony Grant inside the box.
Harry Smith and Shaun Williams threatened early on for the Londoners before Marcus Maddison produced a save out of Tom King with a free-kick.
Millwall reclaimed their place in the Sky Bet League One play-off places thanks to a 1-0 win over Peterborough United at The Den.
Neil Harris: “We want to keep the unbeaten run going, we want to keep the clean sheet record going. Eventually, someone is going to score past us and someone is going to beat us but, at the moment, we’re enjoying the run and playing with real confidence.”
“It’s a tough place to go at the best of times but I think we’re in decent form at the moment. We’re looking pretty strong after a tough game during the week and we’ll go down there with confidence.”
Robbie Neilson: “It’s going to be really tough. It’ll be difficult to try and break them down because they don’t open up a lot and they keep their back four sitting there with the midfield in front of them, allowing their attacking players to go and win the game.
Biggest Dons win: 4-0, 4 Oct 2008 (The Den)
Last Dons win: 4-0, 4 Oct 2008 (The Den)
Dons wins at The Den: 1
Dons wins: 1
Joyce’s assistant referees are Alix Pashley and Ashvin Degnarain while the fourth official is Akil Howson.
The Cleveland official, who took charge of Millwall’s 5-1 defeat to Peterborough United at the start of the season, has had 32 appointments this campaign, during which he has produced 136 yellow cards and 11 reds – three of those dismissals have come in his last six outings.
Ross Joyce will referee the Dons for the very first time this weekend.
The pair have missed the last two matches but may return this weekend. Goalkeeper Jordan Archer looks to set to be out with a quad injury.
Millwall will monitor both winger Jed Wallace and striker Steve Morison ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Aside from Aneke, Scott Wootton (knee) is the only other absentee for the Neilson, who may still look to change things up.
Although the injury doesn’t appear to be as bad as first feared, the forward is unlikely to return in time to make the journey to The Den.
The Dons look set to be without Chuks Aneke, who picked up a hamstring injury in Tuesday’s draw with Bradford.
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*All odds correct at the time of writing
Fred Onyedinma: 8/1
Harry Smith: 13/2
Aiden O’Brien: 4/1
Lee Gregory: 7/2
No goalscorer: 17/2
Nicky Maynard: 9/1
Harvey Barnes: 17/2
Dean Bowditch: 8/1
Kieran Agard: 6/1
Millwall win: 11/10
Dons win: 5/2
Biggest Millwall win: 3-1, 23 Feb 2010 (Stadium MK)
Last Millwall win: 3-1, 23 Feb 2010 (Stadium MK)
Millwall wins at The Den: 1
Millwall wins: 3
Last draw: 2-2, 13 Aug 2016 (Stadium MK)
Draws at The Den: 0
Draws: 1 A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle.
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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 5pm.
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