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Preview: Bristol Rovers

All you need to know ahead of today's Sky Bet League One fixture..

28 October 2017

MK Dons will be looking to return to winning ways when they take on Bristol Rovers this afternoon

Robbie Neilson’s men are without a victory in their last four matches and were held to two frustrating draws at Stadium MK last week. Still, the Dons remain just four points adrift of the play-off places and could close that gap with a success in Bristol.

In terms of their away form, Neilson’s side go into the match in relatively good shape – they have won three of their last five games on the road, which is the fifth-best record in Sky Bet League One over that period of time.

Can they make it four from six?

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Bristol Rovers will be out to end a three-game losing streak this afternoon.

Prior to the run, the Pirates had won three out of four games, including a stunning 6-0 thrashing of Northampton Town away from home, but since that win at Sixfields Stadium they have failed to find the net on three occasions and conceded six times.

Darrell Clarke’s side, who sit 16th in the Sky Bet League One table, have been strong at home this season. They currently have four wins to their name at the Memorial Stadium and have scored 13 goals – one of the better records in the division.

The Dons fought back from 4-2 down to earn themselves a share of the spoils in a thrilling match at Stadium MK last weekend.

Craig Davies initially opened the scoring just seven minutes in but the Dons responded shortly afterwards through Alex Gilbey’s first goal for the Club. Oldham, however, went into the half-time break 3-1 up courtesy of Eoin Doyle’s finish and an own goal from Joe Walsh.

Robbie Neilson’s men again responded – Ed Upson reducing the deficit direct from a free-kick – before the Latics again re-established their two-goal lead.

The men from MK1 weren’t to be denied, though, and goals from Aidan Nesbitt and Ed Upson in the final 10 minutes of regulation time saw them leave with a point.

Bristol Rovers suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat away at Rochdale in their Sky Bet League One encounter last Saturday.

The only goal of the game came seven minutes in when Dale captain Ian Henderson set Brad Inman free down the left-hand channel. He drew Rovers keeper Adam Smith off his line before clipping a ball for Matt Done to have the simplest of close-range finishes.

Rovers almost equalised on 29 minutes when a hashed clearance from Joe Rafferty dropped invitingly for Ollie Clarke but he sent his volleyed effort over the crossbar.

After the break, Clarke sliced wide when presented with an opening 10 yards from goal but neither he nor his teammates could find a leveller, making it three straight defeats to the Bristol club.

Robbie Neilson: “It's still very tight (in Sky Bet League One) at the moment. If we pick up two or three wins then we'll be in the play-offs and then we can kick on from there.

“We need to get back to winning ways. I have huge faith in the players and there are things I can see they're doing really, really well. We hope we're through that patch and now we can start building some momentum.”

Darrell Clarke: “They had a really entertaining game (last) weekend. They’ve got a good mixture of players – they have got players who can hurt you and they’ve got some experienced players too.

“Like ourselves, they are searching for more consistency. We’ve just got to play the game full of confidence. Our record at home over the last three years has been outstanding and we’ll look to continue that on Saturday.”

The Dons remain without striker Osman Sow, who looks set to be sidelined for six weeks with an ankle injury suffered in the 1-1 draw with Walsall.

Peter Pawlett is also unavailable today but the midfielder has returned to light training.

Bristol Rovers striker Ellis Harrison is suspended for this afternoon's clash after picking up his fifth booking of the season last weekend.

The Pirates will, though, be hoping to have forward Billy Bodin (hamstring) available.

Michael Salisbury will referee today's fixture at the Memorial Stadium.

The official, in his second year in the EFL, took charge of the Dons’ 2-0 victory over Bury back in September. That day he produced five yellow cards.

Salisbury, who has never before refereed Bristol Rovers, has made 27 bookings this campaign but shown just one red card – that sending off did, however, come in his last appointment.

The assistant referees are Robert Dabbs and Louis Marks while the fourth official is Adam Penwell.

Dons wins: 6
Dons wins at the Memorial Stadium: 2
Last Dons win: 2-1, 2 Feb 2011 (Memorial Stadium)
Biggest Dons win: 2-0, 19 Aug 2006 (National Hockey Stadium); 2-0, 1 Jan 2011 (Stadium MK)

Draws: 3
Draws at the Memorial Stadium: 2
Last draw: 0-0, 19 Nov 2016 (Memorial Stadium)

Bristol Rovers wins: 1
Bristol Rovers wins at the Memorial Stadium: 1
Last Bristol Rovers win: 1-0, 5 Apr 2010 (Memorial Stadium)
Biggest Bristol Rovers win: 1-0, 5 Apr 2010 (Memorial Stadium)

Result
Dons win – 13/5
Draw – 13/5
Bristol Rovers win – EVENS

First goalscorer
Chuks Aneke – 6/1
Kieran Agard – 6/1
Gboly Ariyibi – 7/1
No goalscorer – 12/1
Billy Bodin – 4/1
Rory Gaffney – 4/1
Dom Telford – 11/2

Scorecast
Chuks Aneke to score first and MK Dons to win 1-0 – 45/1

Sky Bet tip
Six or more goals to be scored – 9/1

*all odds correct at the time of writing

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Supporters living outside the UK can watch the match LIVE with an iFollow MK Dons Season/Monthly Pass or by purchasing a Match Pass – click here for more information!

iFollow MK Dons will have also live commentary of the game for UK-based fans – click here to sign up for as little as £4.49 for a month or £45 for the season!

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 1pm.

There will also be full coverage on the Club’s social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat!

A full match report will be available to view on mkdons.com straight after the final whistle.

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Tickets for today's clash with Bristol Rovers can now only be bought, cash only, at the Memorial Stadium.

Tickets are are priced from £18 adults, £14 under-21s and £10 seniors/£8 under-16s when bought in advance of matchday. Supporters have the option to purchase in a standing area or a seated section.


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