MK Dons v Town – Preview
Town look to return to winning ways and maintain their unbeaten start to the season when they head to MK Dons this evening.
The trip to Stadium MK is the second of three matches in a week following Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Doncaster and Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.
Could the amount of games be a change for Lambert to rotate his squad: “I’ll pick a team which I think can go and win,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see. We go there to try and win, we’ll have a massive support. I’ll see how they are on Sunday and Monday and then decide what team I’ll play.”
Jon Nolan and Will Keane were second half substitutes on Saturday and Nolan could be added his first start of the season tonight but expect Keane to be amongst the subs again.
“Will more so than Nolo, Nolo now I think is just about there,” he said. “Toto [Nsiala]’s doing OK, he’ll play [in the U23s] on Monday.
“They’re starting to come back, they’re not too far apart. Longevity-wise, Will I think has been the one who has been most frustrated with injury.”
“Nolan’s come on from the bench a few times, the lad can play, he’s got a goal in him, which is great, and Will’s a natural goalscorer. You’ve just got to give them time but they’re getting there.”
Even thought Town failed to pick up the three points against Doncaster, Lambert was pleased with yet another clean sheet, Town’s third in a row: “I was fortunate to play with some world class teams and defending’s the cornerstone of everything you’re trying to achieve.
“If you’re strong defensively then you’ve certainly got a chance up the other end. Defensively, the clean sheet is very good.”
Looking ahead to tonight’s game Lambert is expecting another tough encounter, with MK Dons sitting three points below Town in tenth position.
“It’s hard, every team is hard but we go there with confidence and we go there to try and win,” the Blues boss continued.
“ I don’t worry about anything else other than what we do, we’re the main focus and if we can go and do what we do, then hopefully we’ll come away with a win.”
Lambert looks set to rotate his side with perhaps James Wilson coming into the side ahead of either Luke Woolfenden or skipper Luke Chambers. Myles Kenlock and Kane Vincent-Young look set to continue in their full-back roles although Donacien could come in, although very unlikely.
MK Dons will he operating with a three man midfield, as Doncaster did on Saturday. This may see Lambert bring in Jon Nolan to play alongside Flynn Downes and Cole Skuse. Fit again Emyr Huws is another option as is Andre Dozzell.
With James Norwood set to lead the line if Lambert matches up with a three man midfield, the former Tranmere striker could be joined by a number of supporting players. Alan Judge and Gwion Edwards could keep their places but Lambert could be tempted to hand Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou his first start in a Town shirt. Danny Rowe will be in contention if he has overcome his ear infection which saw him miss out against Doncaster.
Paul Tisdale’s men have won their last three matches in all competitions, including back-to-back league successes against AFC Wimbledon and, most recently, Blackpool.
Saturday’s 3-0 at Bloomfield Road – their fourth of the campaign which is tied for most in the division – has them lying 10th in the Sky Bet League One, just three points adrift of this evening’s opponents who occupy the second and final promotion spot.
The Dons can confidence from their recent form but also their record on Tuesday nights at Stadium MK under Tisdale. Since the 46-year-old’s arrival in June 2018, his team are unbeaten when playing in midweek home league fixtures courtesy of four wins and one draw.
MK Dons are likely to be without Rhys Healey after he suffered a thigh injury during the warm-ups prior to Saturday’s win at Blackpool. It remains to be seen how long the striker will be sidelined for but Paul Tisdale did describe the injury as ‘nasty’.
If Healey is to miss tonight, he will join Baily Cargill, Joe Mason, Jordan Moore-Taylor and Ben Reeves in the treatment room.
Alex Gilbey missed the trip to Bloomfield Road with injury and Tisdale didn’t give any indication on the midfielder’s ailment in his post-match press conference at the weekend.
The Blues, who will be backed by almost 3,000 fans this evening, and the Dons have only ever met three times, twice in the league (both Town wins) and once in the Carling Cup (MK Dons won).
Tonight’s referee is Lee Swabey from Devon, who has shown 17 yellow cards and no red in seven games so far this season. Swabey will be refereeing his first Town match.