Bristol Rovers v MK Dons Match Preview

Match Preview League One

By Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers and MK Dons go head to head for the second time in just over a month this weekend at the Memorial Stadium.

The two teams played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in October in a match that saw MK Dons take a 3-1 lead.

Since the match, the Dons have sacked their manager Karl Robinson and are now reportedly in talks with former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard about becoming their new boss.

But talks are only at a very early stage and caretaker manager Richie Barker will once again take charge of the Dons and he told the club’s website: “Credit to Darrell for what he has achieved there in the last couple of years.

“He’s kept the group together and kept the momentum going to where they are now sitting in League One.”

“They are a good group of players who are extremely hard working. (Matty Taylor) is obviously grabbing the headlines and he’s a key part of what they do, but there is a bigger picture.

Bristol Rovers sit just inside the top six in the League One table but manager Darrell Clarke admitted that this weekend’s fixture is just another game and the table doesn’t mean everything as it stands, quoting Barnsley’s rise from being bottom in November to being promoted in May last season.

He also admitted that in the previous fixture between the two sides, MK Dons were the better team and deserved all three points, he told the club’s website: “MK Dons gave us a lesson in football at their place and we were fortunate to get a point.

“We are under no illusions that they will give us anything other than a tough game.

“They have to pick up their form but it is a funny old division this season. I’m pretty sure MK Dons will definitely pick up through the season.

“They have good form away from home but our home form has been decent for a considerable amount of time. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

Team news for Rovers is that James Clarke is still suffering from an injury picked up in training and joins Steve Mildenhall in the physio room but Daniel Leadbitter is back from suspension after serving his one match ban in Tuesday’s FA Cup win against Crawley.

The Dons will monitor Darren Potter and Nicky Maynard ahead of kick-off, with both players struggling through injury.

Potter (leg) has missed the last three games while Maynard (hamstring) suffered his injury in training. Both Chuks Aneke (knee) and Scott Wootton (knee) remain sidelined however Joe Walsh is back available after missing last Saturday’s draw with Walsall due to his international commitments with Wales.

Stats

The last meeting between these two sides at the Memorial Stadium ended 2-1 to MK Dons in 2011.

Rovers’ only win against the Dons came at the Memorial Stadium, picking up a 1-0 win in 2010 thanks to a Jo Kuffour goal.

Rovers striker Jermaine Easter played for MK Dons between 2009 and 2011 and was their top scorer in his first season scoring 20 goals.

21, Bristol Rovers fan for as long as i can remember. Highlight has to be to 06/07 Play Off win. Seen Rovers at 43/92 clubs in England and counting.

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