Just goal difference separates MK Dons and Portsmouth heading into today’s clash at Fratton Park.
Robbie Neilson’s side, who sit one place below Pompey in 14th, were beaten for the first time in five games last weekend so will want to make an immediate return to winning ways and return to the top half of the Sky Bet League One table.
A victory this afternoon would be their third successive success away from home, following on from their 2-0 triumphs at AFC Wimbledon and Bury. In fact, the men from MK1 have won three of their last four matches on the road.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
Portsmouth will be looking to put back-to-back victories together for the first time this season when they entertain the Dons.
In their last five outings, Pompey have alternated between wins and losses, with one of those victories an impressive 4-1 thrashing of Fleetwood Town at Fratton Park.
The four goals they scored against the Cod Army amount to a quarter of their league total so far this season. They have, though, only conceded 14 times in 12 matches – one of the better defensive records in the division.
At home, Kenny Jackett’s team have won three times, drawn once and lost twice. They’ve only conceded five league goals at home in 2017/18 – only four teams in the division have let in less.
Ten-man Dons were unable to stretch their unbeaten run to five games after suffering a heavy defeat at home to Bradford City.
Aaron Tshibola’s sending off after only five minutes meant it was always going to be an uphill battle for Neilson’s men, who went two goals behind before the 18-minute mark.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell gave them a glimmer of hope with a header just before half-time but despite a strong start to the second half they were unable to grab an equaliser and the Bantams made them pay by increasing their one-goal lead to three late on.
Portsmouth enjoyed a Sunday success over Gillingham last weekend – a result which moved them up the Sky Bet League One table.
Former Dons loanee Matthew Kennedy netted the only goal of the game in the second half, finishing off after Curtis Main had a header come back off the post.
Pompey could have extended their lead through Matthew Clarke and Kennedy but both players missed chances. They were, though, able to prevent the Gills recording a shot on target at the other end – comfortably seeing out an away triumph.
Robbie Neilson: “It will be a good one. They’ll have a great crowd there, there will be a good surface and we’ll be playing against a good team so hopefully it will be an enjoyable game.
“They have been similar to us in that they have been stop-start due to injuries. (Kenny Jackett) has got great experience and he’s trying to put a team together to get out of this league – I’m sure they’ll get themselves there eventually.”
Kenny Jackett: “They’re a very good footballing team with some pace in forward areas and I’m sure they’re one of many who have aspirations of getting into the top six.
“They have plenty lot of talent in their ranks and a lot of ball-playing midfielders. We have to be wary of that, but we’ve got goals at home and want that to continue.”
The Dons are hopeful of having Scott Golbourne back from injury while Ousseynou Cissé and Callum Brittain return from international duty.
Aaron Tshibola will miss the trip due to suspension while Peter Pawlett (knee) continues to make progress in his recovery from injury.
Pompey will have Christian Burgess and Milan Lalkovic available as the pair have recovered from calf and Achilles problems, respectively.
Conor Chaplin (hamstring) is still sidelined, though, along with Adam May (ankle), Damien McCrory (knee), Brett Pitman (knee) and Jack Whatmough (knee) are all injured.
Graham Horwood will take charge of today’s match on the south coast.
The experienced official has already refereed nine matches this season but has yet to produce a red card. He has, though, made 28 bookings.
His last Dons appointment came was the Good Friday fixture with Scunthorpe United at Stadium MK last season – that day, Horwood didn’t brandish a single card.
That was also the case in his most recent Portsmouth match, which took place the week prior to the Dons’ clash with Scunthorpe.
The assistant referees are Robert Dabbs and Adrian Waters while the fourth official is Christopher Wade.
Dons wins: 0
Dons wins at Fratton Park: 0
Last Dons win: N/A
Biggest Dons win: N/A
Draws at Fratton Park: 1
Last draw: 1-1, 26 Feb 2013 (Fratton Park)
Portsmouth wins: 0
Portsmouth wins at Fratton Park: 0
Last Portsmouth win: 0
Biggest Portsmouth win: 0
Dons win – 100/30
Draw – 5/2
Portsmouth – 17/20
Kieran Agard – 13/2
Osman Sow – 13/2
Gboly Ariyibi – 8/1
No goalscorer – 9/1
Conor Chaplin – 9/2
Oliver Hawkins – 5/1
Curtis Main – 5/1
Osman Sow to score first and MK Dons to win 2-0 – 100/1
Sky Bet tip
MK Dons to beat Portsmouth 2-0 at 20/1
MK Dons have won 2-0 in both of their last two away games.
*all odds correct at the time of writing
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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 at Portsmouth can be bought at Fratton Park, cash only, ahead of kick-off - prices are £25 adults, £19 seniors, £15 under-23s while under-18s can attend for £10 if unaccompanied by an adult/senior or £5 if they are accompanied.