The sports blog: Three and a bit weeks is a long time in football

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WHEN Plymouth Argyle left town with three points on Tuesday February 18, it came as a huge blow to a Dons side who had come to rely on their home form to get them into the play-off position they occupied that night.

Their recent foray back into the top six was only made possible because of Dons’ superb stadium:mk form - bettered only by League One’s top two.

But while Brighton and Bournemouth had been almost unstoppable on home soil too, they - unlike Dons - were also pretty tough to beat on the road.

Argyle won that game thanks to three stunning goals, the like of which you wouldn’t normally mind losing to. But what made that defeat so gut-wrenching for fans was that Dons’ next four games came away from home, and only the most optimistic of supporters would have backed their side to have held on to that play-off place by the time Dons hosted Brentford in their next home game.

But that’s exactly what has happened. Dons went into the first of those four away games at Dagenham & Redbridge with just seven points from 12 games on their travels - now they have a much more respectable 15 points from 16 games.

A late winner at the division’s bottom side wasn’t that much to write home about, but it certainly would have provided a confidence boost, and the next three away results were definitely cause for celebration.

A draw at Leyton Orient was followed by a win at Bristol Rovers and another draw at Sheffield Wednesday - not really title contending form, but a significant upturn in fortunes.

When Dons come to town they’re now a side to be feared again, and when they next go on the road to Hartlepool, the north east side will be extremely wary of Karl Robinson’s men.

The challenge now is to make sure that home form continues in the same vain as before, making sure that Dons’ hard work away isn’t undone by a few sloppy results on home soil.

Four of Dons’ next five games are at stadium:mk, and without sounding too cliché about it, they’re all vitally important ones. First up are Brentford on Saturday - one of the four sides Dons have beaten at their own place - and it would be horribly ironic if they ended up leaving Milton Keynes with a win.

Following home games against Orient, Oldham and table toppers Brighton are certainly tough ones, but also very winnable. Robinson has promised Brentford’s defence a busy afternoon and the smart money is on Dons making it 10 wins from 14 in front of their own fans.