MK Dons have fallen off the top of League Two in the past week after successive defeats, taking their total league losses for the season to four. This, by no means, is a disaster, but perhaps it does show that Paul Tisdale’s side were getting a little too comfortable with how well they were playing and it serves as a reminder that they need to stay focused, particularly with the fixture congestion over the festive period.
MK Dons Aiming to Avoid Third Successive Defeat
Sixfields Trip Set to be a Cracker
If ever there is a game to end a shaky period and make a statement, it’s against one of your local rivals, and that is exactly the chance that the Dons have this weekend. They make the short journey up the M1 to face Northampton Town, who they beat 1-0 earlier in the season thanks to Kieran Agard’s solitary goal.
Northampton have had a poor season in contrast to the Dons after they were both relegated from League One last season, but have seen a huge upturn in performances since the arrival of Keith Curle a few months ago. Despite this, they still lie in 15th, while Tisdale’s Dons are in second, four points behind Lincoln.
This rarely matters when it comes to local games like this, however, as the Dons saw from their loss against Stevenage in November. They were 2-1 up away from home with five minutes of normal time left and ended up losing 3-2, so nothing is a given.
Perhaps slightly worrying for the Cobblers is that they have only won twice in the league since the start of November. If the Dons can take advantage of this dip in form (as well as ending their own dip) then they have more than enough quality to win this one comfortably.
Kevin van Veen has been a potent goalscorer in the lower leagues of English football for a number of years, most notably with Scunthorpe but more recently with Northampton since his move south.
The Dutchman is currently the Cobblers’ top scorer this season with eight, two ahead of strike partner Andy Williams. He also has five assists so far, proving just how busy he has been in front of goal.
Any striker relishes the chance to score against rivals at their home ground, so van Veen will be up for this one, no doubt. He will be a marked man this weekend.
For the first time, it’s not a player who fills up this section. The key man for the Dons this weekend is actually their manager, Paul Tisdale. While his tactics have got the side to second in the table and have served them well so far, the two successive losses could be an indicator that a change is needed.
Do they go more defensive, like at the start of the season? Do they stick with what they have currently? Or, do they change the system entirely? It will be the decisions that he makes in this game that determine whether the Christmas period was just a small blip or whether it’s the start of a much bigger problem.
The difference in quality between these two sides is unquestionable but it’s probably a good thing for both of them that they are facing ‘out of form’ (to any extent) opposition.
Due to that, it’s probably going to be tight, but quality can get you far in League Two and the Dons have that in abundance. As such, they should sneak this.
Prediction: Northampton Town 0-1 MK Dons