A blend of experience and youth is boding well for third placed MK Dons so far this season.
They come to the Keepmoat Stadium hoping to extend a nine-match unbeaten run and have been held scoreless just once this season – that being a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Championship side Bournemouth in a Carabao Cup tie.
In the last three League One matches for the Dons, they’ve scored eight goals and conceded five – three of those five allowed coming away to Fleetwood Town in the team’s last match Tuesday evening.
If there’s a name synonymous with MK Dons, then it’s certainly Dean Lewington. Having been with the club since its formation in 2004, Lewington has served as both a player and even caretaker manager (August 2021) until the announcement of current head coach Liam Manning. The long-time captain collected his 700th career cap earlier this season in a 1-0 win over Portsmouth, and he has scored 21 goals in his MK Dons career.
This season, the defender had been continuing to prove that age is only a number delivering dangerous crosses, picking up two interceptions and winning three tackles. With his 700th MK Dons appearance, he joined Roy Sproson (Port Vale), Jimmy Dickson (Portsmouth) and John Trollope (Swindon Town) as the only players in football league history to have achieved 700 league appearances for a single league club. James Coppinger 696 saw him fall narrowly short of the milestone.
Midfielder Matt O’Riley signed for Milton Keynes in January of this year midway through the 2020/21 season despite training at the club as a free agent since the start of the campaign, following his departure from Fulham.
He left former club Fulham after playing just once in the Championship, seeing most of his playing time as a member of the club’s U21 team. Born in Hounslow, O’Riley was eligible to represent England, Denmark and Norway on the international level. Ultimately, he has represented the Three Lions for both the U16 and U18 teams.
O’Riley has four goal involvements for the Dons, including scoring two. He leads the squad with 41 crosses into the box, while also topping the team with 11 interceptions and 14 tackles won.
Troy Parrott is in the middle of a loan spell at MK Dons from parent club Tottenham Hotspur. He arrived at Stadium MK in July after loan spells the previous season with both Millwall and Ipswich Tow.
A native of Dublin, Parrott has played for the Republic of Ireland National Team on the international level in seven games, scoring two goals in the process. He represented the Republic of Ireland squad on the U17, U19 and U21 level before earning his first senior call-up in November 2019.
He scored his first competitive senior international goal for Ireland in June 2021 with his second senior international goal coming in the same game as the side earned a 4-1 win over Andorra.
This season, Parrott already has three goals to his credit, adding two assists on top of that. He leads the Dons with a 4.20 shots per 90 minutes, as well as holding a 38.9% shots on target ratio. He’s contributed with four tackles won on defence. Of his three goals scored this season, two have come inside the box.
Scott Twine was the first signing for MK Dons during the 2021 summer transfer window.
Before arriving at Stadium MK, Twine enjoyed spells at Newport County and Swindon Town. He would go on to be named Newport County’s Young Player of the Season at the end of the 2020/21 season.
In all, the midfielder served five years with Swindon Town before officially making the move to MK Dons in June. Currently, he leads the Dons with six goals scored across all competitions, including a hat trick in his last contest against Fleetwood Town. He has also provided two assists on the season. He is the most-fouled player (30) on the squad, while contributing 28 crosses into the box, seven tackles won and three interceptions. He also leads the team with a 1.74 ratio of shots on target per 90 minutes.