League 2's promotion favourites ready to go toe-to-toe

Dons boss Paul Tisdale and Lincoln manager Danny Cowley
Dons boss Paul Tisdale and Lincoln manager Danny Cowley

If MK Dons have any League 2 title aspirations this season, Saturday’s trip to Sincil Bank will be one of the key fixtures of the campaign.

Danny Cowley’s side have made a terrific start, already racing into a three point lead atop the division, six clear of Paul Tisdale’s men, albeit with a game extra under their belts.

Their undefeated record came to an end when Dons were watching on two weeks ago, but they bounced back against Macclesfield on Saturday to restore their three point advantage.

Dons have three consecutive draws to their name, with conceding late goals becoming a disappointing and unwelcome addition to their otherwise strong start to life in the fourth tier.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers at Stadium MK was the ugliest performance of the season so far, with some fans knee-jerking towards booing the side from the field come full time.

But without Jordan Moore-Taylor’s mistimed challenge on George C Williams with 10 minutes to go, allowing Reuben Reid to convert from 12 yards, Dons would have seen out the game and secured the three points and would be sitting fifth instead of ninth.

Polishing off games is something Dons have struggled with. Swindon’s stoppage time equaliser denied them two points, two goals in the last four minutes against Peterborough saw them let slip a 3-1 lead in the Checkatrade Trophy and Rovers’ spot kick are the latest three examples of Dons chucking leads away, but their only defeat since Tisdale’s installation as manager has come against Premier League opposition in the Carabao Cup - hardly a reason to call into question Dons’ start to the campaign.

The finished article they certainly are not, but the manager and his players are the first to admit that.

While Saturday’s performance was a step backwards, they will need to rekindle their form quickly if they are to keep up with Lincoln, who have hit the ground running at pace. The game though will ultimately pitch the two favourites for the league title toe-to-toe. Sky Bet have the Imps as 8/15 to win promotion, while Dons are a little further out at 6/5, though Saturday will go a long way to establishing who will be League 2’s dominant force.