After a miserable Christmas period for MK Dons, things have started to look a lot brighter again. Two consecutive away wins have taken the Dons back up to fourth in the table and, once again, well in the race for an automatic promotion spot.
This weekend, they line-up against one of the teams they beat in that away purple patch; Newport County.
MK Dons Can Consolidate Their Up-Turn in Form With Win Over Newport County
The reverse fixture of this game was meant to be played back in December, but heavy rain saw it postponed just 20 minutes prior to kick-off. Instead, it was played just under two weeks ago, prior to the Exiles hosting Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Chuks Aneke hit the only goal of the game two minutes from time to end a barren away run for the Dons and this, coupled with their win over Carlisle United last weekend, has seen them become promotion contenders again after a major blip over Christmas.
The game against Newport, especially with the rearrangement of the other fixture, have certainly come at a good time for Paul Tisdale’s side. In South Wales, Newport most likely had an eye on their cup tie against the current Premier League leaders while, going into this one, Michael Flynn could be forced to shuffle his team around in order to keep it fresh after what would have been a tiring game against City.
There’s no doubt that the two wins are a positive sign for MK Dons. However, they will only be meaningful if they can use it as motivation to put together a run of form similar to the one they experienced around October and November earlier this season.
The top half is League Two is incredibly congested, with only ten points separating leaders Lincoln City from Carlise in the final play-off spot and Newport themselves will surely feel that with a run of their own they can make a late surge for the play-offs. Despite being down in 15th, they are one of five teams to have accumulated 46 points so far and are only six points behind Carlisle.
Tisdale must be aware that, for now, another slip-up cannot happen as it would more than likely see the Dons tumble down the play-off spots – a blip of two games or more could see them fall out of it altogether, as they did after their home loss to Swindon Town earlier this month.
Therefore, a win in this game is paramount and, with positive results elsewhere, could see them return to the automatic spots that they occupied for the majority of 2018.
The so-called ‘home advantage’ hasn’t always had the desired effect for MK Dons this season, having suffered losses to Swindon, Crewe Alexandra and Colchester United – games that, really, should have been routine.
Tisdale has affirmed his desire for the Dons to not take this game lightly, telling the club’s website: “We cannot underestimate Newport. They got a really good result in the week, so I don’t want to take anything for granted.
“They play a particular way, they’re hard to beat, and they play some really good attacking football at times.”
This will, no doubt, be one of the tougher home games that MK Dons will face this season, but the confidence they will have taken from their wins on the road recently should see them over the line.
Prediction: MK Dons 2-1 Newport County