The inconvenient truth facing MK Dons

Danny Butterfield and Paul Tisdale
Danny Butterfield and Paul Tisdale

Four wins and five defeats from their opening nine games this season is not the return many at MK Dons will have wanted.

Saturday's defeat to previously winless Southend saw Paul Tisdale's side drop to 15th in the table, sparking criticism towards the team, Tisdale's tactics and selection. Though the result was the same as on Tuesday night - a 1-0 home reverse - against now table-topping Ipswich. The actual source of disappointment, truthfully, was the embarrassment factor of losing to a team without a win all season.

Callum Brittain at full time against Southend

Callum Brittain at full time against Southend

Losing to both teams at the top end of the table and at the wrong end in quick succession highlights little more than the reality of Dons' situation - they are a midtable side. You need look no further than the other clubs promoted from League Two to see how much higher the standard is this term. Lincoln, who took the title at a canter, have one more point than Dons, and have played an extra game, while Tranmere have nine points from nine games. Bury didn't even kick a ball in the third tier.

For years under Karl Robinson, Dons were in and around the League One play-off mix, but since they were promoted to the Championship in 2015, Dons have not been a part of it at this level. Coming up this year, there was an air of expectation from some quarters to roughing at the sharp end again, but after nine games, those predictions should be curbed.

Midtable sides can cause upsets, can find their stride and look like they can beat anyone - as seen last week against Blackpool. What prevents those teams from searing up the table though is a lack of consistency. As easy as they can make it look, they can struggle in equal measure - just as they did in the opening half against Ipswich.

With the likes of Jordan Moore-Taylor, Rhys Healey and Ben Reeves sidelined and earmarked as players who could come straight back into the side, and Alex Gilbey making tentative returns after an injury of his own, we are yet to see Tisdale's vision in full flow. Until that, Dons will continue to be consistent in their inconsistency.

Sam Nombe cuts a frustrated figure

Sam Nombe cuts a frustrated figure