By Jon Harries
Well, Saturday was an experience to say the least. I have followed the Dons for seven years now and I don’t think I’ve ever watched a game and felt so embarrassed about our performance, in particular the first half, the Intensity commitment and desire were clearly lacking. Less said about that the better, and we can now conveniently forget it as the great thing about football is there’s always another challenge to look forward to…. (checks next fixture), League 1 leaders and unbeaten Ipswich Town, how hard can that be, and what better way to start “Ominous October”?
Paul Lambert and his team are 3 wins from 3 and haven’t conceded a goal in League 1 at the time of writing, having beaten Wigan Athletic, Bristol Rovers and Rochdale, respectively. Much tougher tests undoubtedly face The Tractor Boys in the future, but they still have to face an MK Dons side that are probably still hurting from that Crewe defeat with possibly a few harsh home truths from the Gaffer still ringing in their ears, without doubt there are many questions to be asked about the way some of our squad have set about the season. Ipswich have such depth in quality in the side that really, they should have been promoted last season. From the outside it seemed once they picked up injuries to key personnel there wasn’t the belief that they could achieve promotion and their season petered out.
In Paul Lambert they have a manager capable of promotion from League 1 as he proved with Norwich City, somewhat ironically taking the Norwich job after Colchester went there and won 7-1 on the first day of the season.
In Czech international Tamas Holy they possess an exceptionally good goalkeeper at this level, and at 6ft 9ins tall he is an imposing figure in his own penalty area and is yet to concede a goal in the League.
Arsenal loanee (and goal scorer at Stadium MK in pre-season) Mark McGuiness is highly regarded in North London. Stephen Ward and Luke Chambers have vast experience at higher levels and Jon Nolan had a phenomenal season with Shrewsbury alongside MK Dons loanee Carlton Morris.
Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell have come through the academy with Dozzell the subject of a failed bid from Crystal Palace in the summer. Jack Lankester has a couple of assists with his left foot, and the striker options are enough to make any opposition fan wince, Kayden Jackson, James Norwood, and Oli Hawkins can definitely expect double figures each this season if they stay fit.
This week’s opposition player to watch is Andre Dozzell. Son of former Ipswich legend Jason Dozzell, the tricky midfielder has been capped up to England U20 level. His young career hasn’t gone smoothly with a serious injury meaning he missed most of last season, however this season the 21-year-old looks a main stay in the side and can boast a handful of Championship Football under his belt. No question he can make Ipswich tick whilst also giving Jon Nolan the freedom to create alongside Gwion Edwards.
Russell Martin will be looking for a massive reaction and a win against his East Anglia rivals back in his playing days. He’ll be hoping Carlton Morris can open his account also, what a confidence building exercise that would be, and for me it will be all about the team reaction from such an under-par performance last weekend against Crewe Alexandra.
Team News – Agard continues his rehabilitation and will not feature although he is doing light training with a ball but is currently not involved with the squad. George Williams has been in full training for two weeks and is available for selection, but it is doubtful he will start. Louis Thompson should be back on Tuesday to play some sort of role, there are no other injury concerns including Richard Keogh who came through his 10 minute debut ok.
Poole – O’Hora – Cargill – Lewington – Sorinola
Houghton – Fraser – Sorensen
Nombe – Morris
For me Regan Poole has to start to help O’Hora with the threat from Nolan or Edwards. Morris can’t come too deep and needs runners around him. Houghton has to help in both directions as Hawkins is such a focal point of Ipswich going forward.
Prediction – sorry Dons fans, I’m going with a 2-1 loss with Nombe scoring a consolation for us. I just feel Ipswich have the confidence and that winning mentality at the moment, but I do expect a reaction from the Dons players but whether it’s enough for points I’m not so sure.
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