Wow, wow, wow. We’re really boogying now.

I have to admit, I was getting worried the other day. Although we were still on an unbeaten run, the home draw against Preston put immediate pressure on the team to gain a positive result away from home once again. The problem with draws is they place added importance on the following game, as a sway in either direction can be the difference between things being seen as a solid unbeaten run, or 2 games without a win.

We’ve already established that momentum is the key. Stuttering results will see us nowhere, so grabbing the victory in the manner we did against Stevenage has elevated the perception of this run and our expectations into the realms of a promotion pushing team. That’s right – we believe now.

Next, we take ourselves to the home of another team that believes they have what it takes to make it out of this league: the universally condemned MK Dons. Poor fellas. They didn’t mean nothing.

How are they getting on?

It’s been an up and down week or three for the pretend Dons. They’ve entered into the initial stages of a win/lose dynamic, but prior to that, their form was looking pretty nifty.

In fact, just as Stevenage’s home record was wholly despicable, MK Dons have one of the very best in the league, with 8 wins and only two losses round their gaff.

As the graph below demonstrates, prior to this strange period of form, they were making a progressive and concerted ascent towards the automatics. It’s potentially only a mini-blip, and regardless of how angry Karl Robinson gets, they are still in 6th place.

MK Dons season form between August and December

It’s also widely recognised that they are the best footballing team to visit the Ricoh this season. We must assert ourselves, but not get complacent. Obvs.

Who could cause us trouble?

That’s right – Karl Robinson is cross right now. The defeat to Walsall was not what he was expecting, and he certainly had some stern things to say about his defence afterwards. Providing he’s got options to do so, he’s likely to make some changes.

You should note that Dons’ top scorer Luke Chadwick – one of their most impressive and influential players – is out for a while with knee ligament damage. Hopefully he gets better soon enough because stuff like that ain’t nice, but in the meantime; a jolly big hooray for us. (Sorry, Luke).

As much as he’s prepared to make changes, Robinson has Dean Bowditch and Ryan Lowe available in attacking areas who both scored the other day, so they should start the game.

Sky Blues team news

McGoldrick is out. The dipstick scored a wonder goal and then miscounted how many bookings he was on, whipped off his shirt, and is now suspended. Quite what he gained from removing his bright yellow shirt to display a secondary yellow garment I will never know, but at least he’s now got a few extra days to finish off his Dear John letter.

Also unavailable is James Bailey who’s gone back to Derby while we attempt to figure out how to get him back in for the New Year. This could be just as disruptive to the unit, especially his central partnership with Jennings.

Robins has some important choices to make. Does he attempt to replicate the fluid tactics and formation that have seen us win so many, or does he try something different to fit the players he has available?

The closest player to Bailey’s style is Conor Thomas and physique. It’s an option for sure, but not one I think Robins is going to turn to. For a start, it’s a little too easy.

I have a feeling he’s going to bring in Barton again, but couple him with Moussa in an attempt to fill the void of solidity left by Bailey. We also have to remember that our FA Cup games have been without Bailey and McGoldrick, and in the most recent case the midfield five was Baker, Barton, Jennings, Moussa and McSheffrey.

Up front, he seems to have a straight choice between Royston and Elliott. Although, a slight alteration could be to bring in Fleck to play on the left, and move McSheffrey into the advanced attacking position.

Those are the options as I see them. I’d be interested to see what you reckon in the comments below..

Prediction

I was a little hesitant prior to the last game, and although we left it late, we ended up battering them with 75% possession and endless shots. With the loss of two key players, you’d think I’d be concerned about the impact that’ll have on the team. But I’m not.

We should still be good enough to take the game to MK Dons. And we should still be good enough to win. There may be pressure on the team to perform given we’re planning on filling half the stadium, but away days are what we do this season, and I have a feeling we will continue this pattern; McGoldrick or no McGoldrick.

2-0.

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3 comments

  1. Worried that the psychological loss of McGoldrick & Bailey might hurt more than we think. Would like to see a midfield 3 of Jennings, Barton, Thomas and Moussa wide left with Sheffers upfront. Would be happy to keep the unbeaten run going. Still, will be there cheering them on …

    1. True, that’s a good point about the psychological side. We saw how tricky we found it initially in the cup games, up until we scored. I know we do it all the time, but grabbing the first could hold even higher importance this time..

  2. Going to be tricky against the inheritors of the crazy gang legacy.
    Both past FAC winners now fallen from glory.
    Would like to see 4-5-1 but think the disruption will cost us.

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