Are Dons better playing against teams at the sharp end?

Looking at the table, everyone should fancy a game against MK Dons at the moment, but teams fighting for promotion have come somewhat unstuck against Russell Martin's side recently.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 10:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 11:48 am
Football

While Rotherham did leave Stadium MK with three points, they trailed 2-0 at the interval after a blitzkrieg start from the home side. Doncaster needed a late and controversial equaliser to snatch a point in a 1-1 draw, Oxford United went second on Sunday, but could not break down Dons and lost 1-0, Portsmouth too were well beaten in the final game of 2019, going down 3-1.

Where Dons' problems have unfurled though has been against teams scrapping, particularly away from home. A stoppage time winner for bottom club Bolton wasn't entirely unfair on Wanderers, who had missed a penalty just minutes earlier. Dons were never at the races against midtable Gillingham and went down 3-1, while the 2-2 draw with Southend - the team with the worst form in the division - felt like a defeat givne how it felt Dons were hanging on for most of the second half.

Dons take on Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, with Ben Garner's side heading to Stadium MK in seventh spot, just three points away from the automatic promotion places.

But though his side are looking in good shape when it comes to playing teams at the sharp end of the table, Martin knows his side need to learn how to play against opposition who will bring different approaches to the table.

"I think it's a sign of where we are in terms of our mentality," he said. "We prepared for Gillingham and Southend, but they're two fighting teams so we need a way to paly against sides like that and we need to find a way to play against teams like that. We've learned a lot from those two games. I'd love to go back and play those games again, knowing what we know now.

"At the moment, when teams take it to us, it suits us more but we have to find a way of beating everyone. We need to find another way of doing things if it isn't going to plan."