Dons vs Cobblers: The local derby sharing more than geography

MK Dons take on Northampton at Stadium MK on SaturdayMK Dons take on Northampton at Stadium MK on Saturday
MK Dons take on Northampton at Stadium MK on Saturday
MK Dons and Northampton Town have had a lot in common in recent years. Five managers each in two years and relegation from League 1 last season - both sides are desperate for a bit of stability.

Paul Tisdale and Keith Curle have crossed paths plenty of times in the past, and both hold a healthy mutual respect for each other, but all that will be put to one side for 90 minutes at Stadium MK on Saturday when the two sides battle it out in League 2.

Neither side will look fondly upon the last 12 months, with fates echoing each other. Three managers over the course of the season, a pitiful start to 2018 and no real fight of which to speak to battle against the drop.

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The clubs have taken different paths to finding their managers - Dons opted for the longest serving manager in the EFL in Tisdale, while Northampton chose Dean Austin, before swiftly sacking him after two months, replacing him with Curle, who left his previous job at Carlisle after four years.

Both bosses have history for sticking at a club, persevering to get things right, and both know the division inside out. And both are now at clubs crying out for some stability after several turbulent and ultimately disappointing years.

Cobblers have not lost under Curle since he took over from Austin at the beginning of the month,edging slowly away from the relegation zone.

Dons meanwhile have lost just one league game under Tisdale, winning three on the spin on their way to fourth place, three points outside the automatic spots.

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Cobblers are yet to win in Milton Keynes since the sides first met in 2008, and head to Stadium MK 19th in the table.

And while the last clash at Stadium MK was a truly awful 0-0 draw last September, Saturday could instead be one marking a new era for both.