MK Dons manager Karl Robinson has asked for one last push as side continue to pressurize second placed Preston. The Dons climbed to just 3 points behind second placed North End after a 3-0 win at Fleetwood in midweek after North End threw away a 2-0 home lead against Gillingham. Robinson speaking before the visit of Leyton Orient tomorrow said “One last push, 2 weeks to go , 4 games to go”.
Robinson stated that Preston’s result tonight against Port Vale has no relevance to his side “we have to win every game anyway, they have 4 games to slip up and that’s the way we have to look at it. We hold our own destiny and if we control ourselves and play to the best of our ability we can keep the pressure on “. The Dons have gone on a 7 match unbeaten streak, winning 5 and drawing 2 since their 2-0 home defeat to North End. Robinson added “we are really looking forward to the game, it is important we go in with full of confidence”.
- Dons Home record – W13, D3, L4, F46, A17
- Dons are the highest scorers at home in the division and only Bristol City (86) have scored more home and away
- Only fail to score in 7 matches all season – 4 at home
- Dons have 4 clean sheets in a row – conceding only 3 in last 7 matches
- Have 21 clean sheets in the League – highest in league
- 4 defeats at home – 2-0 (Preston), 2-1 (Chesterfield), 3-0 (Walsall) and 2-1 (Bradford)
With their 3-0 win in midweek, the Dons passed the 100 goal mark in all competitions thanks to Carl Baker, Will Grigg and Delli Alli. Robinson spoke on record about the change from last season with “it being a tremendous testament to the players. It has been a phenomenal year and say it has been my best year, my most enjoyable on and off the pitch”. With the Dons failing to make the play offs last season the 34 year old said the achievement is “purely and simply by staff and players who all have worked extremely hard”.
The Dons host Leyton Orient tomorrow at Stadium MK, with the O’s without a win in their last 3 matches picking up just 2 points from a possible 9. Orient lost their 12th home game of the season on Tuesday to Doncaster thanks to Rob Jones’s 56th minute header. Jobi McAnuff and Marvin Bartley both pointed to the fact that “if we don’t take our chances invariably a team gets 1 or 2, they take it and nick the 3 points”. However with 3 out of their last 4 games away, pressure could be reduced as Orient have faired better on their travels this season.
- Away Record – P20, W7, D6, L7, F26, A26
- Last 4 away – W1, D1, L2 – F2, A3
- 17 of their 19 league defeats been by 1 (10 defeats) or 2 goals (7 defeats)
- Only scored 8 goals in last 7 matches
- Failed to score in 15 games – 6 away from home and 2 of last 4 on their travels
Orient once again were outdone by a set piece goal on Tuesday night with Bartley stating “I don’t know why we concede from set pieces but if we did we put a stop to it”. The former Burnley midfielder was disappointed after the home defeat “we shouldn’t have to keep a clean sheet in order to get something out of games. We have to start scoring”. Orient had the first opportunities in the game through Dossena and Henderson but chances were missed. Bartley knows the predicament that his side are in “we got ourselves in this positions we have got to get ourselves out of it”.
- 14 out of 55 goals conceded from set pieces (barring penalties)
- Orient didn’t concede a set piece goal in first 13 matches
- 14 set piece goals in last 29 matches – 14 of last 44 conceded
The trip to MK tomorrow starts the run of the last 4 games against sides in the promotion mix up but Bartley feels that “we can’t fear anybody, they are 4 games to go, at this stage of the season if you start fearing people, no point going out there. He added “on our day we can turn it on”. Despite Bartley’s optimism the statistics point to rather gloomy reading with Orient’s record against the top 9, compared to the Dons record against the bottom 9.
- Orient against top 9 –P14, W1, D6, L7
- But the O’s only lost game on the road (W1, D4, L1) – 2-0 at Barnsley
- MK against bottom 9 –P16, W10, D5, L1 (2-1 at Coventry)
- At home –P7, W6, D1, F21, A2
O’s boss Fabio Liverani says he side are ready to bounce back at Stadium MK “the players have showed great levels of determination and desire. Everyone is still positive and believes we can avoid relegation”. Liverani is weary of MK’s threat but said “we respect them but don’t fear them”. Telling words from the Orient boss but tomorrow will see after the outcome.
MK Dons will still be without Samir Carruthers and Ben Reeves who miss out through suspension and a calf injury respectively. However, Dean Bowditch and Carl Baker return after missing Tuesday’s win. Robinson praised his side after key men were missing at Fleetwood with special praise for on loan Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker. “I love seeing young English players with that talent, left and right footed, going between the lines taking the game to them. Hits diagonal balls, drops in line, plays 1-2 touch, scores goals. He is brave and English”.
The Dons have a very young squad with an average age of just 23.2 years and Robinson is happy to give “young English players chance to play football, they don’t let you down”. In fact 19 out of their 27 man squad are 25 or under with only 4 players over the age of 30 keeping some experience in the squad. MK are free flowing in possession and full of goals playing predominantly a 4-2-3-1 system.
- The attacking players have scored60 of MK 84 goals but 75 if you include Deli Alli’s contribution in attack.
- Average age of attacking players just
Orient could recall Lloyd James to midfield after sitting out last two games while Liverani could rotate Chris Dagnall with the striker failing to score in his last 7 matches. The midfield battle could be key tomorrow with the Dons enjoying the majority of possession so Liverani could play 3 in central midfield. McAnuff hinted at “a real edge to the game with both sides needing the result at different ends of the table”.
Points over performance is the phrase used at this time of the season with McAnuff agreeing that “it is just about getting points on the board, need to do whatever we need to do to make sure we can get them”.
The sides drew 0-0 earlier in the season back in October but there should be goals tomorrow at Stadium MK. The teams have played each other 6 times at Stadium MK, both picking up 3 wins a piece but Orient beat MK 3-1 in the final game of last season. The Dons are without a win in the last 4 meetings between the sides – losing 3 and drawing 1. Their last win was back in 2012, in a 1-0 win with Ryan Lowe grabbing the winner.
Prediction – MK Dons 3-1 Leyton Orient