By Steve Manning

The Dons v Port Vale

Venue: Stadium MK (capacity: 30,500 for football)

Competition: Sky Bet League One, Match: 4 of 46.

Positions/Goal Contributions:

Dons – 24th – PD 3 W 0 D 0 L 3 GF 0 GA 5 GD -5 PTS 0 – No Goal statistics to show for league fixtures.

Port Vale – 16th – PD 3 W 1 D 1 L 1 GF 2 GA 5 GD -3 PTS 4 – Top goal scorer: Nathan Smith & Connor Hall – 1 goal each, Top assists: Connor Hall & Funso Ojo – 1 assist each.

Head 2 Head:

Dons wins 4 – Draws 5 – Vale wins 5. Dons’ goals: 15, Vale goals: 14.

Ipswich Town review

A 3-0 defeat at Portman Road against Ipswich saw the Dons slip to bottom place in League One on Saturday afternoon on goal difference. In a display that the BBC Three Counties commentators called “atrocious” and the “worst they had seen” since the 4-0 reverse against Lincoln City during Lockdown, Liam Manning’s young side were taught a footballing lesson in the sweltering Suffolk sunshine. Goals from Wes Burns, and Marcus Harness handed control of the game to the hosts before half-time, and Conor Chaplin swept home on the hour mark to put the game beyond Liam Manning’s Dons as Ipswich claimed top spot in the third tier. It only took the Tractor Boys less than 120-seconds to breach the Dons rear guard when new signings Freddie Ladapo broke free down the left flank, his low driven shot was dealt with comfortably by Jamie Cumming. St. Lucian defender Janoi Donacien’s superb run and cross from the right flank was finished off by Wes Burns just 3 minutes later for Town’s opener 1-0. The Dons very nearly had an equaliser of their own when Conor Grant drew a good save from Christian Walton in the Ipswich goal. It was Grant who then handed an opportunity on a platter to Matt Dennis with a perfect left wing cross, but Dennis’ headed effort sailed over the Ipswich bar.

The deficit increased after Marcus Harness pounced on a loose ball, following Wes Burns’ low driven effort was blocked by Jamie Cumming on the 28th minute of the game. Town Captain Sam Morsy almost made things worse for the Dons, Jamie Cumming tipped the Egyptian’s stinging effort over his bar on the stroke of half-time. Conor Chaplin turned in Town’s third on the hour, as Donacien cut the ball back into the strikers’ path following some clever footwork inside the area. Substitute Sone Aluko almost added a fourth after driving the ball into the Dons box, but his low effort was tipped around his posts with 11 minutes remaining on the clock.

How could The Dons line up?

That’s the million-dollar question right now with this side, confidence is on the floor and performances are even worse to be fair. Ipswich were a class above our boys in every department on Saturday, but how this side set’s itself up for Vale is crucial tonight. Who makes the starting XI is anyone’s guess in my opinion.

Possible Dons XI – 4-2-3-1

•     Jamie Cumming.

•     Daniel Oyegoke, Warren O’Hora (c), Jack Tucker, Zak Jules.

•     Bradley Johnson, Matt Smith.

•     Darragh Burns, Dan Kemp, Louie Barry.

•     Matthew Dennis.

How could Port Vale line up?

Vale have utilised the favoured back three that so many clubs are using these days in the EFL. Darrell Clarke sent his newly promoted Valliant’s out at home to Bolton on Saturday in a 3-4-2-1 formation, which was enough to pick up a point from that game.

Possible Vale XI – 3-4-1-2

•     Jack Stevens

•     William Forrester, Nathan Smith, Connor Hall.

•     Lewis Cass, Funso Ojo, Tom Conlon (c), Mal Benning.

•     Ben Garritty.

•     Jamie Proctor, Ellis Harrison.

Score Prediction – The Dons 0 Port Vale 0

The lack of confidence in front of goal for our attackers right now, doesn’t fill me with confidence heading into this game. In all fairness this is a game where points or at least a point is the required standard to be aiming for. With I believe a goalless draw on the cards here. The defence with a lot to prove after 5 conceded in the first 3 matches. Expect an improved performance tonight but Liam Manning’s side must learn from the performance and result from Saturday, going into tonight’s fixture with Vale.

Match Odds supplied by Ladbrokes (*other bookmakers are available)

•     Dons win: 17/20

•     Draw: 21/10

•     Vale win: 29/10

•     0-0 draw: 7/1

If you are going tonight, once again wishing you all a safe journey to, and from the Stadium MK. Let’s hope the rot is stopped and we are talking about some points on the board in the next preview.

Next Up: Accrington Stanley (H) Saturday 20th August.

Until Next Time, SM.

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