They say things come in threes and it’s certainly something Karl Robinson will be hoping for as MK Dons and Cardiff City lock horns for a third time on Saturday.
On both previous occasions this season, Dons have sent Russell Slade’s side back to Wales with nothing to show for their efforts. And in both cases, they’ve had Josh Murphy to thank for that.
Making his Dons debut back in August, Murphy delivered the killer blow to Cardiff in the second half of extra time to knock them out of the League Cup.
And when the league game looked destined for a draw, Murphy rattled home a 90th minute winner to secure all three points for Robinson’s side on Boxing Day.
“Someone told me ‘you never beat a team three times in one season’ so I’m not looking forward to it now!” said the manager earlier this week. “We’re looking forward to that challenge. The players they’ve brought in are so talented.
“They’ll be disappointed by the last two results (against Dons). We have to make sure we go there and put a performance in.”
Dons will have their work cut out for them though. They head to the Cardiff City Stadium coming off two big and somewhat embarrassing defeats against Bolton and Chelsea. And to add to the challenge, Cardiff have lost just once at home this season when Hull beat them 2-0 back in September.
While Dons continue flirt dangerously with the Championship relegation zone, Cardiff on the other hand sit ninth, four points outside the playoff spots, losing one of their last five league games.
Having missed out against Reading and Bolton with a hamstring injury, Dons striker Nicky Maynard got 15 minutes under his belt in the defeat against Chelsea last Sunday, but he has competition for the spot up front.
While new boy Alex Revell is ineligible to play against the club he left on Monday, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas is in contention to make his first start for the club.