Although never given an ‘official’ derby title, games between MK Dons and Northampton Town always draw larger crowds than the average game in a season. The two teams, separated by just 19 miles and one junction of the M1, rarely spend a season without each other and, as such, there is plenty of history between them.
MK Dons Looking For Derby Win Over Northampton
History Not on the Dons’ Side
The Dons have only been victorious in one of their last four games against the Cobblers – a 5-3 win at Stadium MK in 2016/17 which saw Chuks Aneke and Harvey Barnes open their accounts for the club. Northampton won the last meeting 2-1, which was the final straw for Robbie Neilson as Dons boss and he was axed just hours after full-time.
Prior to this four-game stretch, MK Dons had only lost once in eight games against Northampton, a 1-0 away defeat in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy back in 2012.
Paul Tisdale’s side have only tasted defeat once so far this season in the league and are currently on a streak of three consecutive wins, all of which without conceding a goal. This marks a significant improvement on their late August/September run which saw four draws and one loss.
Northampton started the season poorly under Dean Austin, who has since departed and been replaced by former Carlisle boss Keith Curle. He secured a point in his first game, a 0-0 draw against Bury, with a further draw and Checkatrade Trophy win coming before his first league win – 2-1 against Forest Green Rovers. While the resurgence has not done much for their league position, they have finally started to gain some momentum. What goes against them for this game, though, is that they have the league’s joint-second worst attack coming up against the league’s best defence.
Chuks Aneke will, no doubt, be at the centre of the attacking action tomorrow, but with three goals in his last three games, it’s become more of an expectation to see him banging in the goals.
What maybe wasn’t expected this season was that the Dons would have the best defence in the league after a fairly significant portion of the season had passed. They have conceded just eight times, one less than Mansfield Town and two less than Lincoln City. Some of this will have come from the five-man defence deployed by Tisdale but much of it has come from one of his signings.
Jordan Moore-Taylor has been a rock at the back alongside Joe Walsh, Baily Cargill and, more recently, George Williams, challenging for every ball and showing why he was the Exeter City captain last season. If he is still at the club, he would surely have to be a candidate for the captaincy when Dean Lewington steps down.
Kevin van Veen made the move to Northampton from a side that finished in the League One play-offs last season and he has shown that high level of quality since his arrival. He has four goals so far and played a significant role in the 98th-minute winner against Forest Green last week.
He is going to be the main threat for the Cobblers that Moore-Taylor and his defence will have to watch out for. However, they came up against an in-form striker last week in Adebayo Azeez and kept him quiet. There’s no reason they cannot do the same here.
Although history hasn’t been on the Dons’ side recently in this fixture, current form will surely play a much bigger role. Northampton may not have lost yet under Keith Curle but the Dons are really breaking into their stride in League Two now and should win this one comfortably.
It won’t be the walkover that seems far overdue, but a couple of goals and a clean sheet will still go down nicely.
Prediction: MK Dons 2-0 Northampton Town