By Steve Manning
Venue: The Valley (capacity: 27,111)
Competition: League One –
Matchday: 15 of 46.
Charlton – Pos: 7th P 15 W 5 D 7 L 3 gf 23 ga 17 gd +6 Pts: 22
Top Scorer: Miles Leaburn – 4 goals
Top Assists Provider: Charlie Kirk – 4 assists.
The Dons – Pos: 24th P 14 W 3 D 1 L 10 gf 13 ga 22 gd -9 Pts: 10
Top Scorer: Will Grigg – 4 goals.
Top Assists Provider: Dawson Devoy – 2 assists.
Previous results: The Dons lost one-nil at home to Wycombe in League One, and Charlton beat Shrewsbury Town away one-nil.
Head to head: Charlton wins: 9 Drawn: 4 Dons wins: 8 – Charlton goals: 21 Dons goals: 23.
Last meeting: 22nd February 2022 – League One: Charlton 0 Dons 2 (at The Valley)
Wycombe took the honours in this latest instalment of the Bucks Derby, a tight affair in Denbigh North, decided by a fortuitous attacking move from the visitors to Milton Keynes.
Nick Freeman, named as the Wanderers one to watch by this preview, scored the only goal of the game 5 minutes before half-time to send Liam Manning’s struggling side to the foot of the table with a fifth straight defeat in the league.
Freeman’s volleyed effort proved to be the difference as Gareth Ainsworth saw his team pick up a third straight victory, and the South Bucks outfit moved into the top half of League One with this victory.
A good piece of Goalkeeping from Wycombe’s Polish custodian Max Stryjek denied winger Nathan Holland an opener for Manning’s men. Before Zak Jules headed a measured cross from midfielder Josh McEachran, narrowly over the visitors crossbar.
In response Wycombe centre-back Chris Forino had a powerful headed effort saved well by Jamie Cumming in the Dons goal.
Freeman netted what was ultimately the winner, moments before the interval though, lashing home a stunning volley after Lewis Wing’s corner was not cleared from danger.
The Dons almost levelled soon after the game resumed, Louie Barry was unlucky not to beat Styjek who did superbly to deny the Villa loanee.
Wycombe came back at the beleaguered Dons, with Garath McCleary glancing a header into the arms of Cumming, before striker Sam Vokes also saw his point-blank effort kept out by the Chelsea loanee.
Wycombe maintained control of the contest until the final whistle, with Forino planting a header inches wide from a whipped McCleary cross.
Albanian Anis Mehmeti should have doubled the lead late on, but he fluffed a decent chance on goal. It wouldn’t matter though as County bragging rights returned south to High Wycombe.
How Charlton could line up?
Garner has been known to favour the wingback system with three central defenders, three middle men, and two up top. Another formation possibility is a standard 4-4-2.
Possible Charlton XI: 4-4-2
- Jojo Wollacott;
18. Mandela Egbo, 24. Ryan Inniss, 6. Eoghan O’Connell, 2. Steven Sessegnon;
17. Jeysun Rak-Sakyi, 4. George Dobson, 21. Scott Fraser, 43. Tyreece Campbell;
9. Jayden Stockley, 14. Charlie Kirk.
How Dons could line up?
Manning could go with 3-4-3, or a 3-4-2-1 formation expectation is that the 4-2-3-1 will rear its head again at some point during the game though.
Possible Dons XI: 3-4-3
- Jamie Cumming;
5. Warren O’Hora, 3. Dean Lewington (c), 33. Zak Jules;
12. Daniel Oyegoke, 14. Bradley Johnson, 6. Josh McEachran, 21. Daniel Harvie;
15. Josh Kayode, 9. Will Grigg, 19. Louie Barry.
One’s to watch:
Scott Fraser – Charlton: Scott Fraser is no stranger to folk of a Dons persuasion, his performances for the MK during lockdown drew attention from various clubs up and down the United Kingdom under Russell Martin, and rightly so.
Fraser is blessed with everything you could ask for in a midfielder, he has pace, he has excellent vision – both on and off the ball, possesses an excellent passing range, as well as crossing ability and the willingness to shoot from any distance if given the space to do so.
What price would we get on Scott coming back to haunt us when the two clubs collide?
Josh McEachran – The Dons: Midfield playmaker McEachran has suffered from a severe lack of consistency this season – although his performances have been marginally better than the rest of Liam Manning’s options in the centre of the park.
Hopefully this will be the game that people sit up, and take notice of Josh’s work rate – when it isn’t clouded by a poor team performance. McEachran has that ability to pull the strings for The Dons, will he impose himself in this game, and make the Dons tick? One to watch.
Charlton 2 Dons 0
Charlton should be too strong for our misfiring side, a sixth straight defeat is my prediction for this fixture. Confidence is low, and the side is bottom of the third tier at the time of writing. Could this be Liam Manning’s curtain call?
History hasn’t been kind to former bosses who have gone on such runs whilst in charge of the MK before.
Goal Scorer? Can’t see where the next goal is coming from, this side is too unpredictable. Grigg is the only name you’d expect to come closest to notching a goal down there in London.
Match Odds supplied by Oddschecker:
Charlton win: 4/5 Draw: 3/1 Dons win: 15/4 Correct score, Charlton to win 2-0: 37/5.
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Thanks again for taking the time to read this midweek preview, if you are heading to the capital – I wish you all a safe journey.
Until Next Time, SM