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Match Previews

Preview: Gillingham

All you need to know ahead of today's Sky Bet League Two clash at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium...

7 October 2023

Match Previews

Preview: Gillingham

All you need to know ahead of today's Sky Bet League Two clash at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium...

7 October 2023

MK Dons travel to the MEMS Priestfield Stadium today, looking to return to winning ways against Gillingham.

Graham Alexander’s men go into the game on the of a 0-0 draw with Walsall in midweek, despite a dominant away performance in the West Midlands.

The Dons Head Coach will be hoping his side can produce a similar display this afternoon but turn a point into all three – a result which would likely lift them back up the Sky Bet League Two table.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Gillingham are without a permanent manager following the departure of Neil Harris on Thursday afternoon - Harris’ exit comes after a three-game winless run for the Gills, who have fallen to eighth in the Sky Bet League Two table as a result.

Gillingham are, though, unbeaten in three at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium and have won three of their last five home matches.

The Kent club, who will be under the leadership of former MK Dons Assistant Manager Keith Millen, also boast one of the toughest defences in the division, with only 11 goals conceded this campaign. However, they have struggled to find the net themselves – scoring only nine times in total so far.

MK Dons were unable to turn a dominant away performance into victory as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Walsall in midweek.

Graham Alexander’s men had more possession and more shots than their hosts but were unable to find a winning goal.

Mo Eisa had their best opportunity late in the contest. Ellis Harrison and Warren O’Hora also went close for the Dons while substitute Tom Knowles had the Saddlers’ best effort saved by Craig MacGillivray.

Gillingham were beaten 2-0 by Crewe Alexandra when they made the trip to the Mornflake Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Ethan Coleman hit the post early on for the Gills, who fell behind on the half-hour mark when Connor O’Riordan met Zac Williams’ cross and found the bottom corner with a downward header.

George Lapslie and Macauley Bonne both failed to take advantage of good opportunities to equalise and Gillingham were ultimately punished with five minutes to play – Tom White managing to get the ball over the line after some good combination play with Aaron Rowe.

Graham Alexander: “(Gillingham) are a good team. They started the season well but have had a difficult spell, similar to ourselves. It's a tough venue too but this is one of the places where, if you play well and get a result, it adds more to your armoury going forwards.

“Week-in week-out, we’re going against good teams who want to win. We have no god-given right to beat anyone. Whoever the team is, what they've done in the past, the names, the colour of the kit, we have to earn it.

“We'll go there looking to play as well as we have done recently but turn the draws into wins.”

Keith Millen: “I worked for them a few years ago, (they have) a reputation of playing good football and producing good young players. They will be competitive and I imagine their expectations would be to get promoted.

“With the team and the names they have got, they are probably under-achieving at the moment for whatever reason. Hopefully, their lack of form continues on Saturday and we will get a result.”

MK Dons don’t appear to have any fresh injury concerns following Tuesday’s trip to Walsall.

Graham Alexander was without four players due to injury in midweek and it remains to be seen whether any of the quartet – consisting of Nathan Harness, Ashley Hunter, Dean Lewington and Tommy Smith – will be fit in time to return this afternoon.

Gillingham are without midfielder Timothee Dieng, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

Striker Oli Hawkins is also unavailable for the Gills – he hasn’t featured yet this season, owing to a heel problem.

There could be three reunions today, with Jack Tucker set to return to face his hometown team while Gillingham’s line-up could include two former Dons.

Tucker came through the Gills’ Academy and made 137 appearances for the Kent outfit before moving to Stadium MK last summer.

Meanwhile, Gillingham skipper Shaun Williams featured 137 times for the Dons between 2011 and 2014. His Gills teammate and namesake, Jonny, spent time on loan in Milton Keynes during the 2015/16 campaign.

Darren Drysdale will run the rule over this afternoon’s clash at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

The experienced Lincolnshire-based official has taken charge of seven matches so far this season, producing a total of 26 yellow cards. He has yet to brandish his red card but has awarded four penalties.

Darren Drysdale.jpeg

Today will be the 19th time he has refereed an MK Dons fixture. His first appointment was back in the Club’s inaugural 2004/05 season with his most recent coming almost 12 months ago, when the Dons made the trip to Cheltenham Town last October.

His assistant referees are Leigh Crowhurst and Michael Webb while the fourth official is Dean Treleaven.

MK Dons wins: 7
MK Dons wins at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium: 2
Last MK Dons win: 4-1, 18 Sep 2021 (MEMS Priestfield Stadium)
Biggest MK Dons win: 4-1, 18 Sep 2021 (MEMS Priestfield Stadium)

Draws: 3
Draws at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium: 2
Last draw: 0-0, 1 Jan 2022 (Stadium MK)

Gillingham wins: 8
Gillingham wins at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium: 6
Last Gillingham win: 3-2, 2 Mar 2021 (MEMS Priestfield Stadium)
Biggest Gillingham win: 3-0, 31 Dec 2005 (MEMS Priestfield Stadium)

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Tickets are no longer available to buy from the Box Office or online. The fixture has been declared ALL-TICKET for away supporters and there will be no away sales today at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

Can't make the game? Supporters can LISTEN to this fixture live on iFollow MK Dons for £2.50 - to purchase an Audio Match Pass CLICK HERE!

Live text updates will also be provided on the Match Centre as well as Twitter, while a full report will be available to read shortly after the full-time whistle. Post-match reaction and highlights will follow after.

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