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Preview: Southend United Under-18s

Young Dons return to action…

5 January 2023

MK Dons Under-18s will return to EFL Youth Alliance action following the conclusion of the Christmas break.

John Bitting’s boys prepare to face Southend United at the Boots and Laces Training Ground in their EFL Youth Alliance Group C clash. Currently, MK Dons place fifth within the group, and a win could see them rise to a top-three spot in the table.

The Shrimpers hold seventh position, but just two points separates them and the travelling side. Southend have lost three league games at home out of a possible seven.

However, in the previous meeting between the two sides at the Boots and Laces Training Ground. The Dons netted three and maintained a clean sheet to claim victory, only one other team within the league has managed to prevent Southend United from scoring on their home turf.

Kick-off is scheduled for 10:30am at the Boots and Laces Training Ground.

Five points separate Southend United and third place within the Group C table. Five wins and a draw has accumulated 16 points for the home side, but three consecutive league losses have added to their total of four for the season.

A dip in form wont dishearten Danny Heath’s side as they look to climb up the league table and return to a top three position, which they once occupied.

This season, the two teams have faced each other twice in different cup competitions. John Bitting’s boys knocked the Shrimpers out of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup after a convincing 3-0 victory. A month later, Southend responded with a 3-2 win in the FA Youth Cup, which saw the Dons bow out of the tournament.

In MK Dons’ previous outing before the Christmas break, they faced Northampton Town, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat on the road.

The young Dons have failed to find success in their recent two league matches but will look to abolish that record as they prepare to battle against the Shrimpers.

Southend United participated in FA Youth Cup action before the holidays. The hosts eliminated the Dons from the competition before they progressed into the next round and played Middlesborough Under-18s.

The Championship side’s academy put three past Southend at the Roots Hall Stadium. Their Lead Professional Development Phase Coach Danny Heath commented that ‘the players should be proud of their efforts’ within the tournament.

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