Following their 4-0 defeat to Bury at the weekend, Notts County will try to make amends as they travel to Buckinghamshire to take on MK Dons. Paul Tisdale’s Dons are unbeaten in their last four, have not conceded in four and goalkeeper Lee Nicholls currently tops the clean sheet ranks for League Two – far from an easy proposition for Harry Kewell’s County, then.
Struggling Notts County Face In Form MK Dons
County Stumped, Dons Soaring
A disastrous start to the season under Kevin Nolan saw County languishing at the bottom of the League Two table, which was a shock to most considering that they had led League Two for the majority of the season in 2017/18.
Harry Kewell was appointed as the man to reverse their fortunes on 31st August and things did not improve immediately. Further losses against Forest Green and Exeter, as well as draws against Stevenage and Northampton, still had County lagging behind everybody else. Kewell’s first win then came at the end of September against Crewe, then extended their run with consecutive wins against Crawley and Macclesfield.
Their run came to an abrupt end at the weekend, though, as they were beaten 4-0 by a rampant Bury side. Kewell’s one-word assessment of the game was “terrible” and the loss saw his side drop from 17th to 21st in the table.
MK Dons, on the other hand, were able to extend their three-game winning streak into four at the weekend, courtesy of a 1-0 win over local rivals Northampton Town. Kieran Agard scored the only goal of the game just before half-time, converting from Jordan Moore-Taylor’s knockdown.
Having had a sticky patch through September, in which they drew four and lost one of their five league games, the Dons have more than made up for it with their form in October. They started with a 2-0 away win at Port Vale where Chuks Aneke and Agard started their recent goalscoring exploits. The pair struck before half-time and the Dons held on for the win.
Two late goals then gave them their biggest win of the season as they hosted Cheltenham. Aneke hit the opener before Rhys Healey and Robbie Simpson added to the tally in the final ten minutes.
Consecutive 1-0 wins then ensued, firstly away at Cambridge last week before the aforementioned victory over Northampton.
MK Dons should look to take advantage of Notts County’s shot confidence following their heavy loss and with strikers like Aneke and Agard in the form they’re in and a defence that is seemingly rock solid, they should have no problem in doing this.
As the Dons’ form continues to improve, it gets harder to pick one standout player that could have an impact on the game. Baily Cargill and Jordan Moore-Taylor have been immense at the back, Dean Lewington looks like the player he was three years ago and Rhys Healey has been quietly effective up front.
Kieran Agard, though, is having his best season in front of goal for the Dons. He has scored three in his last three appearances and is currently on five for the season, just one behind his tally for the entirety of last season.
The game against Northampton saw him play as part of a front three with Aneke and Healey which, if replicated against Notts County, could be a deadly trio.
Jon Stead has been the main man for the Magpies for a number of years now and this has been no different this season. The veteran forward leads the way at the club with six goals so far, double what the next highest scorer has.
He appears to be the only positive in an otherwise desperately disappointing season and so will have to be marked tightly by the Dons defence in this game. He may be getting on, but he has more than enough ability to punish defences at this level.
The Dons have only ever lost once to Notts County – a 2-0 away defeat back in League One’s 2010/11 season. They have won the last five meetings and they are more than likely to extend this to six on Tuesday night.
While Harry Kewell may set his side up to attack and go for the game rather than a damage limitation approach, Tisdale’s outfit should have enough quality to see this one through fairly comfortably.
Prediction: MK Dons 2-0 Notts County