HEAD-TO-HEAD: Roots Hall repeat is needed to save Dons season

Chuks Aneke
Chuks Aneke

MK Dons go to Roots Hall on Saturday knowing anything but victory over Southend United will likely spell relegation to League 2 next season.

Dons head into the game five points adrift of safety with four games remaining. And though they cannot be relegated mathematically on Saturday, defeat would almost certainly send them down.

Biut having won three of their last five trips to Roots Hall, losing only once, Dons head into the game off the back of three defeats, while Southend have lost three of their last four.

"We've done well there, we won there at this time of year last season too," said captain Dean Lewington ahead of the game. "I think we won there when we were fighting for relegation many years ago too, so I've got good memories. It's a compact ground, a good atmosphere and it's somewhere we can get a result.

"The problem is not many players in the team now have played there for MK! We had a similar issue with Gillingham where we were told we don't usually do well there but I was the only one who'd played there before! Even if it was a place we'd had the worst record at, it really doesn't matter, we know we have to go there all guns blazing to get the result.

"The minimum is three wins and a draw. There are high total this year so you'd imagine we need ten points. It's up to us to go and get them. If we win on Saturday, teams around us will start looking at us again, and we have to apply as much pressure on other teams to show we're still fighting. We have to go to Southend on Saturday, get three points and take it to other teams."

Manager Dan Micciche added: "Other teams will drop points, and two of our relegation rivals play each other on Saturday so they can't both win. There will be nerves, and it will be down to the team which can hold their nerve and the team that comes out fighting. I won't stand for anything else from our lads.

"I'm not expecting Southend to (let off), they're professional and playing at home. I wouldn't expect them to be on holiday yet, so we're going there in the frame of mind that they'll be up for it.

"I know they lost their last game and Chris Powell wasn't happy with it. They've got a good home record and it's a tough place to go, but we said that about Gillingham. We'll go there with confidence in our away form too."