A run of four consecutive defeats sees the Imps in need of a morale-boosting win against MK Dons, a side sitting below us in the table.
However, those who are thinking this should be an easy night for the Imps are going to be mistaken. Managed by Russell Martin, the Dons are a side in transition, much like us. They’re not managed by the same man who brought them to this division, having fired Paul Tisdale in November, with former Norwich City man Russell Martin taking charge.
Like Michael Appleton, Martin struggled in his first few matches, losing four on the bounce before picking up a win in the Football League Trophy. Since then, despite not being spectacular, the Dons have been solid enough to move away from the bottom three and aspire to a midtable finish. In fact, as we’ve lost four in four, they’ve lost four in 14 matches across all competitions.
Their current form is more akin to that of an aspiring promotion chaser; in the last 12 games, their form would have them around seventh in the table, highlighting the threat they pose.
There are positive for the Imps: Martin still hasn’t got his side firing on all cylinders on the road. Their last away win was back in September as they turned over Blackpool 3-0, meaning Martin still hasn’t been victorious away from home. Their last six fixtures away from Stadium MK have brought draws against Coventry, Southend and Shrewsbury, with defeat at Gillingham, Burton and Newport in the EFL Trophy.
They’ve most recently been operating in a 4-3-3 formation, with Sam Nombe, Rhys Healey and Carlton Morris across the front of the attack. They’re a passing team, although our domination of possession at their place earlier in the season didn’t give us a hint of that. On average, they make 422 passes in away matches, 81% of which are accurate, compared to their opposition averaging around 356.
They do have the spectre of financial trouble hanging right over them; they’ve been reported as losing £10,000 per day, paying £107 in wages for every £100 of income. That won’t affect them tomorrow night, but could it be that the long-term strategy at the club is impacted by the financial situation brewing there?
I’ve done pretty much every club on the ‘thanks, no thanks’ this season but in the absence of a podcast this weekend, I thought I’d pick three players we need to be aware of and how they might affect the game. Interested? You know what to do.