By Jon Harries
Even two days after the event I’m struggling to find any highlights after our disappointing and lacklustre performance at home to Gillingham, It was like the Dons hasn’t played for 3 weeks, not Gillingham.
The first 30 minutes wasn’t too bad in fairness Eisa may have had a penalty, Twine turned and shot narrowly wide just inside the box and Gillingham seemed happy to defend with a low block and hit on the counter. Even in the second half there really wasn’t much to write home about. O’Riley firing narrowly wide and Twine forcing a save from Cumming in the Gills goal.
It would be unfair to not give Gillingham any credit, bodies were put on the line and the organisation was to be admired but if play offs is the minimum this season, then it should be a game, we had 3 points from. With Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth also dropping points it felt like a lucky escape.
Saturday sees the Dons travel up to the Wham Stadium to face Accrington Stanley. Unbeaten in their last 3 games including an impressive win to stop the 21-game unbeaten run of top of the league Rotherham on the 20th anniversary of manager John Coleman time in management.
Currently 10th in L1, their home record is always good with the tight ground and intimidating atmosphere, with the fans almost within touching distance of the pitch. They may not have the highest attendance or even the biggest budget, but what you will get from Stanley is 100% intensity and commitment.
Toby Savin is getting attention from higher up in the pyramid and Michael Nottingham has been reinvigorated under Coleman. Harry Pell has stepped up a league providing a link between attack and defence. Ethan Hamilton likes a shot from range, and Sean McConville has been with Coleman throughout all his time in management.
Colby Bishop is the Man in Focus. With Dion Charles out of favour and sold to Bolton, reported to be in the region of £300k, the main source of goals now lies firmly with Bishop. He’s physical but don’t let his size fool you, his movement off the ball is exceptional alongside his link up play bringing runners into the game. With 6 goals and 3 assists in 21 games he is starting to find consistency after some time off injured. He will have to fill the void Charles has left though who scored 3 goals in the 2 games played last season.
Kioso – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Kasumu – O’Riley
Twine – Parrott
I’d make the one change. I feel opposition like Accrington will suit Kasumu perfectly. We need energy in the midfield that Kasumu undoubtedly has and although not as technically gifted as McEachran, time on the ball won’t be an option with Accrington looking to press and unsettle our passing and tempo. His tenacity could be key to giving the forward-thinking players time to punish the Accrington defence.
My prediction isn’t as bold as last Saturday, and I apologise for anyone that decided to take my word for it. I’ll say it will be like the reverse fixture in September, 2-1 MK Dons. Eisa and Parrott with the goals. Both need a confidence boost I feel to reignite their seasons respectively and with Max Watters returning to Cardiff last weekend there is more responsibility on the duo until a replacement can be found.