Speculation has been circulating around MK Dons for almost a week around the possible departure of the squad’s second-leading scorer of Matt O’Riley. It was confirmed on Thursday that the midfielder was departing to Scottish giants Celtic.
Liam Manning and his Dons are now working to replace him as they look to hold onto their play-off place. They currently sit fifth in the Sky Bet League One, having accumulated 46 points with 13 wins, seven draws and six defeats.
For the team eyeing a return to the Championship, their recent run of form is one that has supporters believing promotion could be possible. In their last 10 league games, MK Dons have won five, lost two and accepted three draws. However, over the course of the last five league games only Wigan Athletic have accumulated more points (13) in that span than the Dons’ 11 points out of a possible 15. The club have suffered just one defeat in their last six games across all competitions, which was a 1-0 loss away to Charlton Athletic in the Papa John’s Trophy back on January 4.
However, in their last nine matches, MK Dons have only scored more than one goal on two occasions – those being wins away to Lincoln City and Portsmouth.
Defensive standouts like club captain Dean Lewington, Harry Darling and Warren O’Hara have provided stability in their own half of the pitch, as the Dons have amassed six clean sheets this season, not including two 0-0 draws.
Scott Twine leads the goal scoring for the Dons with 11 on the season, also supplying a team-high eight assists in service. Mohamed Eisa has come on of late for the team, now sitting in sole possession of second place on the team in scoring with seven goals, after the recent departure of O’Riley. The Sudanese international Eisa has netted goals in two of the last three games for the Dons.
Since the 2013/14 campaign, Rovers and MK Dons have met on the pitch a total of nine times, with Rovers claiming four wins and three draws, losing just twice. Included in the meetings between the two sides is just one scoreless draw, that coming at the Eco-Power Stadium in October 2014.
Rovers took the earlier meeting this season between the two sides at Eco-Power Stadium by a 2-1 score line, when Tiago Cukur came on as a second-half substitute and scored the game-winning goal just two minutes after entering the contest.