By Jon Harries
“It’s a funny old game” is a common saying amongst football fans up and down the country and It certainly was last Tuesday night. The Dons turned in a dominant first half rewarded by a Joe Mason hattrick, the first Dons player since Ryan Colclough, ironically also against Fleetwood to achieve the feat. The first 45 minutes was night and day compared to the second half. I was expecting the reaction from Fleetwood after their poor half, but I wasn’t expecting the relief at full time when the win was confirmed. Andrew Fisher and Dean Lewington were immense in the second half with only a wonder strike from impressive substitute Sam Finley the reward for an improved Cod Army performance.
It’s been a busy week in and out of Stadium MK. “One of our Own” George Williams moved to Bristol Rovers, Richard Keogh departed pre-Peterborough for Huddersfield, whilst in return the permanent signing of Warren O’Hora from Brighton. We also thankfully secured the services of exciting centre back Harry Darling from Cambridge United, then on Saturday afternoon the club confirmed the contract extension of Andrew Fisher. Russell Martin is building for the future and it’s going to be an exciting journey that I can’t wait to witness. Fingers crossed we can return to Stadium MK as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Tuesday’s opponents Charlton Athletic have been in and around the play off places for the majority of the season. Lee Bowyer has assembled a very talented squad that should be higher than the position they currently find themselves in because of inconsistent results. Goalkeeper Ben Amos is one of the best at League 1 level, something you would expect from a Manchester United graduate, and looking throughout this squad you see talent. Ben Purrington and Chris Gunter are brilliant full back options, Ryan Inniss and Adedeji Oshilaja are a solid CB partnership. In midfield Andrew Shinnie, Ben Watson and Darren Pratley could all play at a higher level and former Dons Alex Gilbey, Jonny Williams, and Jake Forster Caskey provide energy, assists, and on their day can change a game although the former Gilbey is finding it difficult to become a firm fans favourite, and get a regular start. Recent January addition Liam Millar has settled on the left displacing the enigmatic Marcus Maddison. Up front, Connor Washington, Kevin Schwartz, Omar Bogle, Paul Smyth and new loanee recruit Jayden Stockley are wonderful options to have, and when you look at that small list its baffling how they are not higher.
The man in focus for me is Chuks Aneke. The mercurial player is enjoying a solid campaign thus far with ten goals already this season including one on Saturday, helping the Addicks recover from 2-0 down at home to Swindon to rescue a point. We all know the ability is there, and on his day, he is a game changer (just ask Yeovil and Notts County), with his strength and skill as his top attributes, I’m sure all Dons fans will be hopeful that the former players have an off night.
Laird – Poole – O’Hora – Lewington – Harvie
Gladwin – Sorenson – Fraser
Jerome – Mason This side were phenomenal in the first half against Fleetwood with the pressing, passing and clinical finishing, and if they can repeat that it will be a competitive game. They possess the 4th best away record, so it won’t be easy.
I’d take a draw but optimistically predicting a 2-1 home win.
The future is bright under Russell Martin.
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