HEAD-TO-HEAD: Dons out to repeat Dale success
MK Dons haven't lost to Rochdale in 10 years, and Robbie Neilson doesn't want to begin this weekend.
Late goals from Kieran Agard and Ben Reeves scoring a last minute equaliser, saw Dons avoid defeat against Dale at Stadium MK last season, rescuing a 2-2 draw.
This time around, both sides are battling at the wrong end of the table again after disappointing starts to the campaign. Dons go into the game in 15th, while Rochdale are 18th, a point behind Neilson's side.
While the win could see Dons climb to 12th, league positioning isn't as important for Neilson as building up some momentum after a bad result in midweek.
"These games are all must-wins if we want to be at the top of the table," he said. "But you have to realise we won't win every game, we have to respond well and if we get a setback we get going again and put in a performance."
Injuries have been an issue for Dons this season. Peter Pawlett, Osman Sow, Kieran Agard, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Joe Walsh have struggled to get regular time on the field since the start of the season, and Neilson believes having consistency on the pitch will help Dons out of their early-season rut.
He said: "We need to find consistency in 90 minutes and getting the players into the team we want."
"We've been a bit inconsistent in getting the team we want, with Ethan coming out, Joe Walsh missing, Osman coming in and out. It has made it difficult, but we have a good group.
"Every team has periods where they have these issues, and hopefully we've had ours at the beginning of the season.
"Promotion has been the aim from the start, the aim is to get top two. We've not had a great start, we know that, but there is still a long, long way to go."