By Jon Harries
Game five, three points, two goals, a clean sheet and out of the relegation zone with our strikers scoring making it a Super Saturday.
Getting that first win as soon as possible was vital. Questions were quite rightly asked at 5pm Friday evening after the departure of Sam Nombe to near neighbours Luton Town on loan, with an option/obligation to buy, with many asking, why would we let another striker leave the club when we so obviously were looking for one of our frontmen to click, yes, one that wasn’t exactly prolific but had potential to be something special. We subsequently found out that Luton had made a bid in the previous transfer window that had been rejected.
There were two late additions to the MK ranks, keeper Andrew Fisher signed permanently from Blackburn Rovers, and Stephen Walker signed on loan from Middlesbrough. Both have previously plied their trade at Stadium MK, but both are still relatively untried at this level, time will tell and be the judge if this has been a good transfer window for Russ and the Dons.
My own personal opinion is, where are the goals coming from consistently, so I genuinely hope I’m proved wrong as I believe Russell Martin has tried to make the best of the current situation.
Saturday lunchtime saw the Dons trying to get their first League One win of the campaign against an in-form Gillingham who hadn’t lost in 11 games on the road. Dons started off well with a half chance for Jerome then the same for Gillingham through Oliver. The first goal crucially was scored by the home side, Louis Thompson with an incisive pass into Regan Poole who cut it back to Cameron Jerome to finish first time past the stranded Bonham.
Gillingham did control the rest of the half without really testing Nichols, then early in the second half Carlton Morris finished off a superb flowing team move to all but confirm the victory.
Oxford United meanwhile lost 2-0 away at “Project Vengeance” Peterborough, Ward and Dembele with goals either side of halftime in a game Oxford dominated possession. So, we may have an opposition that could challenge the “Possession Kings of Europe” for their crown and want to match us pass for pass.
Oxford United have endured a difficult start to the season. It could be down to the play off “hangover” (which I personally don’t believe in), but they have had defeats against Sunderland, Lincoln, Gillingham, and Peterborough with their solitary win coming away at Accrington.
Losing key defender Rob Dickie seems to have really unsettled Oxford United, in fact boss Karl Robinson said yesterday he may dip into the free agents to add quality to his squad, good luck with that one Karl.
Centre Back Rob Atkinson is the man Oxford fans are looking to fill Dickies boots and James Henry can definitely step up a level, and Anthony Forde is very experienced on the League 1 scene. Matty Taylor given any chance can score with less than half a chance, and of course, there’s Rob “The Knee” Hall (let’s just say he’s not got many friends in Milton Keynes).
The possible man to keep an eye on (or possibly not, as he reportedly has an eye injury) is Cameron Brannagan. The ex-Liverpool youth player recently signed a new contract at the Kassam Stadium and is an integral part of the Oxford setup, so if he doesn’t make it into the line-up that will be a big loss for Robbo. The midfield captain can do it all, defend, create, and score and his leadership is integral, and if fit could be the biggest test yet for in form David Kasumu.
It’s going to be like a game of chess against Oxford and patience will be key.
Predicted Line-UpNicholls Poole – Williams – Keogh – Lewington – HarvieHoughton – Kasumu – Fraser Jerome – Morris.
I’ve not included Thompson in the starting X1 as I just feel like a few members of our squad they should be eased in gently, so just subtle changes might be necessary, but again, why change a winning side?
I predict a narrow 1-0 away win……… Yes, you read that right, an away win. Stats have to change at some point, and I believe they will, Fraser with the goal.
Team News We’ve heard nothing regarding injuries, so we can only presume Russ has everyone to pick from accept Agard who is now back on the grass.
Editor – Thanks to Jon for another superb preview, and I’d just like to point out I predicted a comfortable win against the Gills on Saturday, and it was fairly comfortable you have to agree, This week I’m going with Jon and taking the Dons to win on the road for the first time in over 13 months.
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