By Jon Harries
Seven points from the last three games and all of a sudden any fears of relegation are quite rightly put to the back of the mind. The process is clicking very nicely and no better example than Tuesday night. On paper a midweek trip to Rochdale would be a bit nerve racking but within ten minutes the nerves were settled. Great play down the right from Laird and Will Grigg on his second debut for the club found Matt O’Riley in space and he curled a shot beautifully into the far corner from the edge of the box. After that, the Dons grew in confidence and controlled the half, barring a ten minute period where Darling was lucky not to give away a penalty, but Rochdale still equalised through via Matt Lund after a mistake by Lewington who it has to be said took the freekick far too quickly and played us straight into trouble. With time running out in the first half the officials spotted an infringement by Jerome to deny Zak Jules a first goal in only his second start and us a deserved half time lead, but for all the world there looked like little wrong with it.
He wasn’t denied for long though as Martin’s men came out in the second half with a point to prove. Jules got his goal from a corner heading in a rebound off the crossbar from a Jerome header, and the Dons didn’t stop there. Scott Fraser picked up the ball just inside the opposition half slaloming past players in the snow like he was at Xscape MK, before curling a shot past the goalkeeper. Then the icing on the cake. Starting from Fisher, Darling turned his man before finding Fraser in space, he then ran forward and exchanged passes with Grigg who laid it on a plate for Jerome to tap in, a goal Pep Guardiola would have approved of just along the road. So, a brilliant midweek game that will only build more belief and confidence amongst the squad going into a trip to Humberside on Saturday.
Hull City have been up at the top of League 1 for the majority of the season, but Grant McCann is under pressure to return Hull to the Championship at the first time of asking and with the squad at his disposal it’s hard to argue why they wouldn’t. Lewie Coyle, George Honeyman, Josh Magennis all will play at a higher level, regardless of the season Hull have. This squad was more than capable of staying up last season and has been strengthened and backed by the Hull owners. They do find themselves going through a sticky patch of late losing three of their last five to Accrington, Oxford, but more surprisingly lowly Burton Albion, then scraping past Swindon and fortunate on Tuesday night to get a point at home to table topping Lincoln. No shots on target in their last two games is worrying for the fans given the firepower and creativity at their disposal. They need to snap out of this quickly as teams below them have games in hand. The last thing they need is more pressure in the play offs or worse still do what Portsmouth, Sunderland, and Ipswich are doing, namely struggling to get out of the League.
Keane Lewis- Potter is one to watch now and in the future. The 19 year old has taken Leaguer 1 by storm. Given the confidence of his manager he has stepped up at times where his more experienced team members haven’t. Confident to shoot, beat a man, and a fox in the box type, he has all the tools to rise to the top. Five goals in 15 starts is a very good record especially for someone so young, he is only going to get better. He may not start Saturday but expect an impact in the game. Also out for Hull is skipper Richie Smallwood who had it confirmed this week he will be out for the remainder of the season following an injury sustained in the defeat to Burton Albion.
Laird – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Jules
Surman – Fraser – O’Riley Grigg – Jerome
Why change a winning side. Winning breeds confidence and with the imminent return of Kasumu we are only going to get stronger. January was a brilliant month and even if play offs is a dream this season, next season has the potential to be special.
I’m predicting a 1-1 draw. Hull’s home form is brilliant, but their recent form does give me hope of a more positive result. They are a very good side on their day, and it will be interesting to see if they press like they did so successfully at Stadium MK. We are a different animal from that side and fingers crossed we keep the run going.
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