By Jon Harries
Well last Saturday didn’t go to plan did it? In fairness to Accrington Stanley, they got the early goal and didn’t let up until halfway through the first half. The Dons then dominated and deservedly equalised through Carlton Morris with an effort that Diego Maradona would have been impressed with, the way he took it on the chest, a couple of little “keepy uppies”, then pace and power to go at the Accrington defence followed by a very cool finish at the near post, a definite contender for goal of the month if not goal of the season. The Dons though and not for the first time this season shot themselves in the foot soon after and these lapses in concentration are costing the team, and ultimately, we are not getting what our performances on the whole deserve.
Next up we have the second of three games at Stadium MK after the destruction of Norwich U21’s on Tuesday and possibly this coming Saturday an early contender for a six pointer against Burton Albion. This may look easy on paper given the gulf of quality in both squads but don’t let that take away the fact that Burton are unbeaten in their last three League 1 games, a win at home to Charlton followed by two draws one at Sunderland and the other at home to Crewe. Also let’s not forget that all this has taken place whilst dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Burton training ground in which they still played games as the FA deemed, they had enough members in the squad still fit and able to play.
As previously mentioned, Burton’s last game was a 1-1 draw with Crewe and with 15 minutes to go Sam Hughes connected with a Joe Powell corner to give the Brewers the lead. Crewe then equalised through their own corner, an Owen Dale overhead kick that although it was heart breaking at the time for Albion, on paper that is a particularly good point given Crewe’s start to the season.
Burton probably has one of the lowest budgets in the league and they depend a lot on free transfers alongside their youth development system to be able to survive. In goal Kieran O’Hara has not kept a clean sheet all season, and in front of him in defence they have the experience of Michael Bostwick, skipper John Brayford and left back Colin Daniel, with former Sheffield United midfielder Stephen Quinn providing defensive structure in midfield. Joe Powell and Ryan Edwards provide the width and creativity in Burton’s squad, and frontman Lucas Akins has played every position possible at Burton Albion during his career. The main summer signing who is currently injured is striker Kane Hemmings and with 5 goals this season he has a quarter of Burton’s goal tally in the league.
The opposition focus though this week is on Charles Vernam, the former Grimsby Town midfielder who is now getting a run of games and starting to show why he such a good technician on the ball. Starting his career as a Derby County apprentice he has two goals this season and has as a quality set piece delivery. With his close control and technical ability alongside Ryan Edwards much is expected of the duo, to not only join in but to assist and score alongside Akins. This for me is the key battle on Saturday and whoever is selected as right wing back for the Dons will have to keep tabs on this tricky and dynamic player.
Predicted Line Up
Poole – O’Hora – Keogh – Lewington – Gladwin
Kasumu – Surman – Fraser
Morris – Jerome
This for me is now our strongest line-up although I’ve no doubt people will write strong cases for Williams, Sorensen and Sorinola to make the starting line-up. The majority of the squad was rested on Tuesday night therefore there should be no excuses for fatigue. It also wouldn’t surprise to me to see Kieran Agard in the squad. His two goals midweek plus the fact if we are struggling to score then we’ve always got another proven at this level option on the bench.
I predict a 3-0 home win and I expect Fraser to score against his former club plus goals from Morris and Jerome.
In a nutshell I can’t even contemplate losing on Saturday, let’s hope I’m right.
THE BIG MATCH PREVIEW IS SPONSORED BY
12 Drakes Mews, Crownhill, MK8 0ER
Tel No – 01908-565904