A look ahead to MK Dons' crunch clash against Mansfield Town

MK DonsMK Dons
MK Dons | Jane Russell
Previewing MK Dons’ penultimate home game against Mansfield Town on Saturday (kick-off 3pm)

MK Dons have three games to go to try and secure automatic promotion, and they begin with their biggest game of the season against Mansfield Town.

The Stags are two points ahead of Dons with a game in hand, but defeat at Stadium MK would see Mike Williamson’s side climb back into the top three. A win for Nigel Clough’s side though would make Dons’ chances of a top three finish far more remote heading into the final two weeks of the campaign.

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The sides crossed paths at Field Mill in the reverse fixture a little over a month ago, while Mansfield were sat atop the division. Despite taking the lead when Michael Kelly saved Lucas Akins’ penalty, only for Stephen Quinn to follow up with the rebound, goals from Alex Gilbey and Matt Dennis secured the win for Dons. Since then, Mansfield have picked up ten points from a possible 21, and now trail leaders Stockport by seven points.

Dons meanwhile have picked up 13 from 21 since their game at Field Mill, and are three unbeaten heading into Saturday’s clash.

The game also pitches the team with the second best home record against the team with the second best away record. Dons have lost just once at home under Mike Williamson, while Mansfield have lost just five times on the road all term, winning ten and drawing six away.

The sides have only crossed paths seven times previously, but one of those was hugely significant for both. In 2019, the pair played in the final game of the season at Stadium MK - Mansfield’s last trip to MK1 - in a winner-takes-all match, which again saw the sides contending for third in League Two. David Wheeler’s header early on secured a win for Paul Tisdale’s side, and with it automatic promotion.

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Of those seven games, Dons have won four, losing one, with two draws.

Dons are set to be without Dennis, who scored the winner in March, and Joe Tomlinson who is still recovering from a foot injury. Jack Tucker though is likely to feature, while in-form striker Max Dean’s fitness is improving week on week, having scored four in three games prior to kick-off.

Referee Benjamin Speedie will take charge of the game. In 32 outings this season, Speedie has shown 94 yellow cards, four reds and awarded seven penalties. He twice took charge of MK Dons last season - his only games overseeing the club - with both ending up in draws (vs Lincoln City and vs Derby County). Michael Webb and David Harrison will run the lines with Fourth Official Ben Atkinson.

Bookmakers Crypto Casino LTD have MK Dons at 23/20 to win, Mansfield at 13/8 and 12/5 the draw.

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