NINE points from the next three games will be the aim for MK Dons over the next week, starting with the visit of Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
The Railwaymen come to stadium:mk on the back of four consecutive draws which has seen them fall to 15th in the League 1 table on their return to life in English football’s third tier.
Having been dumped out of the League Cup in the second round by West Ham, Crewe had Tuesday night off while Dons put in a tireless effort against Sunderland.
Goals from Craig Gardner and James McClean ended Dons’ run, but with nothing left to distract them – until the first round of the FA Cup in November – all focus will be on the league and mounting a serious promotion push.
It has been a while since Dons last met Crewe, mainly caused by the Railwaymen’s relegation from League 1 in 2009. That season, with Dons under the leadership of Roberto Di Matteo, the sides shared two 2-2 draws.
Dean Lewington and Luke Chadwick are the only two players remaining at Dons from the last time the teams met, though Danny Woodards and Mark Carrington would go on to swap Alexandra for Dons at the end of the season.
Last Saturday’s 4-1 win over Bury at Gigg Lane – Dons’ first on the road this season – saw them up into the play-off places for the first time since the opening day of the season.
And in the space of a week, Dons will take on relegation strugglers Coventry City and Portsmouth in probably the most important seven-day period of the season so far – if they are to consider themselves title contenders.
Dons striker Ryan Lowe can boast Crewe as one of his seven former clubs. Joining in July 2006 on a free-transfer from Shrewsbury, Lowe spent two years at the Alexandra Stadium, netting 17 goals before leaving for Chester and eventually finding his way to stadium:mk.
Crewe, now managed by Steve Davies, might go into the game sat 15th in League 1, but they are one of only two teams to take a point off table toppers Tranmere so far this term and will provide a stubborn test for Dons.
After a frustrating night in front of goal on Tuesday, Dons will be desperate to get back to their devastating best. A win could see them go second.