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Preview: Southend United (A)

Sam Baldock scores in MK

By Oli
April 9 2009

Aaron Wilbraham remains a doubt but the Dons could be boosted by the return of two players for Friday's lunchtime clash with Southend United. The home side have one long-term absentee but no fresh injury concerns.

Wilbraham missed last Saturday's 2-0 win against Brighton with a back injury, but with his replacement Ali Gerba turning in a man of the match performance and bagging the first goal, manager Roberto Di Matteo will hope the Dons will not miss their top scorer too much. Tore Andre Flo is nearing fitness and should make the bench but unless Di Matteo opts for a change in formation Gerba should partner Sam Baldock in attack.

In midfield Luke Chadwick has trained this week and could return, and he will compete with Jason Puncheon, Jemal Johnson and the returning Mark Wright, who made his first appearance since January on Saturday and created the second goal. In superb form and injury free, Puncheon should start, but the right wing spot could be taken by any one of the remaining three.

Stephen Gleeson and Peter Leven hit it off well on the former's debut on Saturday in central midfield, but Alan Navarro, Flavien Belson and Luke Howell are all fit and in contention for a starting place, and one of their more tough tackling styles may be preferred away from home. 

Right-back Shaun Cummings also returned to training this week, but the youngster would be fortunate to find himself in the starting eleven, with Carl Regan again turning in a good performance at the weekend.

Striker James Walker is sidelined for Southend but otherwise manager Steve Tilson, who was linked with the vacant Dons job last summer, has a fully fit squad to choose from.

The Dons will hope that Saturday's 2-0 victory against Brighton marked the start of a better month after a dreadful March, but the stats still don't read nicely; with only two wins in ten matches, the Dons, and we'll use the past tense, have been through their worst spell of the season.

In contrast, the Shrimpers, after a very poor Christmas and New Year, have won 11 of their last 14, giving them a shot at a playoff spot as the season comes to a close, although Tilson has publically admitted making the top six will be very difficult due to the form of the teams aroun them. They currently occupy 8th place and are three points off 6th placed Scunthorpe, having played two games more.

Dons have fared surprisingly well against Southend in the past, considering the south coast side were promotion contenders in League One last time the two sides met, with the Dons struggling at the foot of the League One table. In March 2006 the Dons emerged victorious at the National Hockey Stadium, 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Scott Taylor and Gary Smith. Smith had bagged the winner at Roots Hall in the FA Cup the previous December, with Izale McLeod converting the other from the penalty spot in another 2-1 victory. Later in the same month Dons were back in Southend and took a 0-0 draw back to Milton Keynes.

The two sides have shared no current players in either squad.

Friday's referee will be Mr P Taylor. Mr Taylor is an experienced Football League referee who has officiated the Dons on several occasions over the last few seasons, his most recent Dons game being the 1-0 home win over Tranmere last year. Last season he was something of a lucky talisman in cup competitions, as we beat higher division sides Ipswich Town and Bournemouth in the Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy respectively, awarding us a penalty in each match (and one to Ipswich as well). He will be assisted by Mr S Burt and Mr G M Smith, and the fourth official will be Mr G J N (how many do you want?!) Jerden.


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Preview: Southend United (A)
Dons Online (IP Logged)
09/04/2009 18:42
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Re: Preview: Southend United (A)
Jonathan Winsky (IP Logged)
20/11/2011 23:19
My prediction for this match is 2-0 to MK Dons.

It appears that sadly this forum has gone into 'Test mode', hence the recent lack of posts. However, it is still possible for people to post in this forum by adjusting the site's URL from to Hopefully my tip will now result in the site returning to its former glories.

I comprehensively wrote about this process on 12th July 2010 and 6th March 2011.

Click here to read why I sensationally sacrificed the big bucks of Chelsea for the adventure of Watford -

(image on left not representative of how relative my support of Watford is to my support of Middlesex)

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