May 1 2009
Dons have four players definitely missing and doubts over Luke Chadwick and Aaron Wilbraham for the final game of the regular season against Hereford United at Edgar Street, with a point required to secure a third place finish.
Ali Gerba and Sean O'Hanlon both have knee injuries, with the extent of the former's unclear but the latter likely only to feature in one of the Dons' two playoff semi-final fixtures at best. Danny Swailes is back in full training after a long-term achilles injury but is unlikely to feature this season due to a lack of match fitness, and Stephen Gleeson has returned to Wolverhampton Wanderers after ankle ligament damage saw him ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
Wilbraham came through Tuesday night's 1-0 victory against Northampton Town with a few bumps and bruises and will be monitored in the build-up to the game with unnecessary risks on the Dons' top scorer unlikely to be taken with the playoffs looming. Chadwick meanwhile trained on his own on Thursday and will similarly have a late decision made on his fitness.
The possible loss of Chadwick and Wilbraham could leave the Dons down to two wingers and two strikers, not including Jemal Johnson who is seemingly out of favour as talks continue to stall over a new contract. That could mean more extended action for youngsters Daniel Powell and Adam Chicksen, both wide players, with the former also comfortable in attack.
Hereford will aim to go out on a high but will probably have one eye on next season as a disappointing campaign has seen the Bulls, promoted last year with the Dons, finish bottom of League One, their position confirmed after losing to Northampton last Saturday. Manager Graham Turner, who also owns the club, has stepped down, continuing his role as chairman and also taking up a director of football position, while first team coach John Trewick becomes the club's new manager. The Dons' visit will be Trewick's second game in charge and he has a fully fit squad to choose from.
The Bulls have only pride to play for but Dons will be aiming to secure a potentially vital point to finish the season in third place, enabling them to avoid both Millwall and Leeds United in the playoff semi-finals. If the Dons can do that those two sides will play each other while Dons will face one of Scunthorpe United or Tranmere Rovers, who play each other to decide who will grab that final playoff position. Scunthorpe are at home and require a point, while Tranmere must win.
The two sides last met at stadium:mk on a cold Tuesday night in November, with Peter Leven, Mark Wright and Johnson handing the Dons a sixth straight win. Last season at the same ground a point for the Dons in a 0-0 draw all but secured their place in League One, and they confirmed it mathematically with a win at Stockport County the following weekend. In MK's last visit to Edgar Street a late Wright goal handed Dons a 1-0 victory.
The referee for Saturday's match will be Mr A Bates. Mr Bates has refereed some of our biggest games this season, and his whistle will have opened and closed the Dons' regular League One season by 4.45pm on Saturday having overseen our opening day 0-2 defeat against Leicester City. He also took our 3-1 win against Leeds in December. Mr Bates has been on the Football League for over ten years. His assistants will be Mr N Hobbis and Mr R L Lewis, and the fourth official will be Mr W Barratt.