After a disastrous September for Karl Robinson’s MK Dons, without picking up any points in their five fixtures, things are partially back on track now after Daniel Powell rescued a point against Bristol City in the 94th-minute with a superb solo goal.
That point moved the Dons from second bottom up to 19th, a jump of four places. Meanwhile, their opponents this Saturday, Blackburn, inflicted a 2-0 defeat on last year’s play-off semi-finalists, Ipswich. Star man, Jordan Rhodes, grabbed a first half brace for Rovers to ensure they took a very important three points.
Despite fairly contrasting starts to the season, only three points separate the two sides as they go into this week’s clash. Wanting to avoid a pretty hefty drop down the table, it could well be MK’s Lancashire opposition that come with the pressure on them.
The man to look out for undoubtedly on Saturday will be Scottish international, Rhodes, who has seven goals this season, just two less than the Dons have in their entire league campaign so far. However, with his withdrawal from the Scotland squad that was set to face Gibraltar, could it be a good sign for the Dons in their bid to keep him out?
As well as his potential lack of presence at Stadium.mk this week, the Dons could also be buoyed by the fact that, since Rhodes’ first goal of the season (13th September), only three other players have netted for Rovers. If him not being there was to be the case, that’s surely a good sign for the Dons’ defence.
I’m sure most people are aware though, it is goals that win you games. Not conceding them is also a good habit to get into, but, ultimately, you have to convert your chances to have the opportunity to win games. This is something that the Dons struggled with throughout September, scoring just three times, but the signs were there all along that they could create the chances needed to score, which is what will keep them in this league. As the statistics prove, they have been well on top in three of their four September league games; it’s just the final touch that is missing.
That could be about to change now, though. Since his goal against Leeds, Simon Church has looked a completely different player. He chases everything, wins the loose balls and gives it his all. The confidence he would have gained from his international success this week too will be enormous, whether he played a huge part in Wales’ qualifying campaign or not. Sam Gallagher has also been out on international duty with the England Under 20s team, getting back amongst the goals on his debut in a 3-1 against Holland. The youngster has struggled since his loan move from Southampton, but, with that goal, hopefully the confidence will be flowing within him once again.
The Dons have also acquired a proven Championship player in Nicky Maynard. He made his debut in the League Cup embarrassment against Southampton, coming on as a substitute, and is still yet to start for his new club. Could that change this week though as Robinson looks to get him and his side their first three points in over a month? He needs to try something; otherwise, it could be panic stations in Buckinghamshire.