By Jon Harries
This Saturday is the beginning of our 46-game adventure in League One, and 2020/21 begins quite poetically against the same opposition where we left off when the 2019/20 season was cut short due to Covid 19, so let’s take a look at our game versus Doncaster Rovers in what will be another afternoon on the sofa.
Rovers ended the season in 9th on PPG, and their season went under the radar under Darren Moore, efficient organised and disciplined they were solid more than spectacular.
They began their season in the Carabao Cup much like MK Dons with a narrow defeat to Championship opposition Blackburn Rovers. (3-2).
Much like their opponents on Saturday though League One is of much greater importance. Most pundits are predicting similar finishes for both clubs and it is easy to see why. Both sets of fans could both point to potentially lack of goals being an issue this season. Whilst we still have a month of the transfer window left there is still time although ideally, you would want your signings all in the door for the season opener.
DONCASTER DEBUT FOR JOSEF BURSIK
In 20 year old goalkeeper Josef Bursik they have someone that has represented England at youth level and is highly thought of at his parent club Stoke. He spent his youth career down Kingston way, but saw the error of his ways and established himself in the Academy at Stoke City alongside our very own Stoke loanee Lasse Sorensen.
They have also signed Cameron John permanently from Wolves. The CB was impressive in his loan spell last season with his strength and organisational skills.
Brad Halliday provides the width down the right whilst the evergreen James Coppinger, in his final season as a professional footballer still has the vision and creativity for League One. A fantastic servant for Donny and one widely respected amongst the Football Leagues. Up front Fejiri Okenabirhie signed from Shrewsbury and looks likely to be their main goal threat with his pace.
DANGER MAN – BEN WHITEMAN
The main Doncaster man to watch at the Keepmoat Stadium for me though is Ben Whiteman. The captain whose leadership on and off the ball along with the technical ability, goals and passing makes Doncaster tick. This will be again a good test for Jordan Houghton who said in pre-season one of the aspects he wants to improve on is controlling and dominating a game. I am actually quite surprised a Championship side have not come in for Whiteman as on his day he is the best in the League for that.
Gladwin & Thompson remain doubts and are probably still a week away from returning to full training, so its going to be at least three weeks before we see them back into contention. Keogh is nearing signing off on his rehab and will return to full training if given the nod by Simon Crampton, and its likely we could see the big man back playing by the time we are allowed back into Stadium MK. Williams is also not in contention after feeling pain in his previous injury that kept him out of the pre-season friendlies, he remains in Cramptons care. Agard sustained a knee injury a few weeks ago and the Gaffer reports he is still a long way off even doing light training.
Poole – Lewington – Cargill
Brittain – Harvie
Kasumu – Houghton
Nombe – Morris
My prediction is a 2-1 away win for the Dons. Morris and Sorensen the scorers for our first away win in the League for a year. For me I feel that after the missed header and penalty against Coventry Morris will want to prove a point and in Sorensen we have someone with the creative spark and with a week with the squad under his belt he can only get better. Couple that with a stronger defence (Poole, O’Hora and Harvie) and I am really confident about the win.