Lincoln expected to provide Dons with a stern test

Michael Appleton's side head to Stadium MK on Saturday
Sam Nombe in action against Lincoln last seasonSam Nombe in action against Lincoln last season
Sam Nombe in action against Lincoln last season

Both MK Dons and Saturday's visitors to Stadium MK Lincoln City will be looking to make a better fist of things in League One this season.

Neither Dons nor Lincoln had the season they were expecting last year after securing promotion from League Two. The fourth tier champions Lincoln were given a 16th place finish when the campaign was curtailed, five points the three places above Russell Martin's side in 19th. In fact, it was a dismal season for all of the promoted sides, with Tranmere Rovers relegated and Bury folding before a ball was kicked.

More is expected of both League One sides this season though. Both went through managerial changes last season, as Danny Cowley departed for Huddersfield and Paul Tisdale was sacked as Dons dropped into the relegation zone. Both new Imps boss Michael Appleton and Tisdale's replacement Martin needed to do significant rebuilding and have made good starts to the new season.

While Dons have a win, loss and a draw to their name from their opening encounters this season, Lincoln have three wins and a draw, including a comprehensive 5-0 win over League Two side Bradford in the Carabao Cup, setting up a third round tie against Liverpool - sound familiar, Dons fans?!

With Lincoln heading into the game will a head full of steam, Dons boss Martin says his side will have their work cut out for them in the first home game of the new campaign.

"It’s going to be a tough game," he said. "They’ve had a really positive result (on Tuesday). It’s one we are working hard on and looking forward too. We have to find solutions to the problems we think they will cause us. We've already worked hard on that.

"I’m exciting about the first home league game and really looking forward to a really good game of football. We're looking forward to building on a positive result last week."

Lincoln also boast two former Dons in their ranks for this season, with both Conor McGrandles and Joe Walsh making the switch to Sincil Bank this summer.

Martin continued: "I’ll look forward to seeing Walshy and Conor, they are two really good guys, they were both great for us in League Two and helped us get out of trouble last year – I wish them all the best, but not on Saturday!"

Regan Poole, who scored his first goal of the season in Dons' EFL Trophy win over Northampton last week, added: "Lincoln have had a good start, they’ve strengthen and have a few from us. I think if we play our game and we do what we need to do then we have the ability to win."