Unbeaten in six away from home, the Saddlers will be hoping for another positive result on their travels at managerless MK Dons this afternoon. Walsall have won three of their last four on the road – the most recent a 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy success at Leicester U21s – and have not lost in the league since September. Fifth-bottom MK Dons, meanwhile, have struggled since their return to League One and are winless in 13 home league games – a run stretching back to March. The Buckinghamshire club are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference and currently have ex-Bury boss Richie Barker in temporary charge, having parted company with Karl Robinson last month. The Saddlers ran out 3-0 winners on their last visit to Stadium MK back in December 2014, thanks to a Tom Bradshaw brace and a Darren Potter own goal.
MK Dons: 20th – P16 W4 D4 L8 F20 A25 PTS16
12th – P15 W5 D6 L4 F20 A21 PTS21
8th November – Norwich U21s 4-1 MK Dons – Checkatrade Trophy
MK Dons finished as runners-up in Southern Group F after falling to a heavy defeat against Norwich U21s. Nelson Oliveira’s brace and strikes from Carlton Morris and Ebou Adams secured a routine victory for the young Canaries. Finn Tapp pulled one back for the managerless Dons in the closing stages.
8th November – Leicester U21s 0-1 Walsall – Checkatrade Trophy
Walsall qualified for the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy as group winners after a well-deserved victory at Leicester U21s. Amadou Bakayoko’s 58th-minute tap-in – his fifth goal in three Trophy matches – was enough to secure top spot in Northern Group H. Josh Ginnelly and Franck Moussa also rattled the woodwork for the Saddlers, while Leonardo Ulloa spurned the Foxes’ best chance early on.
MK Dons wins: 7
Walsall wins: 6
14th March 2015 – Walsall 1-1 MK Dons – League One
Ex-Saddler Will Grigg returned to haunt his old club by scoring MK Dons’ equalising goal in an entertaining draw. The home side went ahead on eight minutes, Tom Bradshaw heading home Andy Taylor’s left-wing cross for his 16th goal of a prolific debut season. But the promotion-chasing Dons levelled just after the half-hour mark, when Grigg tapped in Dean Bowditch’s low centre. Adam Chambers went closest to finding a winner but his second-half header was cleared off the line.
MK Dons Caretaker Manager: Richie Barker
The 41-year-old was placed in caretaker charge last month following the departure of long-serving boss Karl Robinson by mutual consent. Barker, the Dons’ Head of Coaching, has held managerial positions at Portsmouth, Crawley and Bury, where he won promotion from League Two as runners-up in 2010/11. As a player, he made almost 500 league appearances for the likes of Macclesfield, Rotherham and Mansfield.
MK Dons Star Man: Kieran Agard
The 27-year-old striker has been in fine form of late, netting four goals in his last seven outings. The former Everton youth player joined the Dons in August 2016 after two seasons with Bristol City, where he won both the League One title and the JPT in 2014/15. Agard was also part of the Rotherham team that won back-to-back promotions from League Two to the Championship.
Kieron Morris is a doubt. Flo Cuvelier, Maz Kouhyar and Reece Flanagan remain sidelined.
The Rutland-based official refereed Walsall’s 1-0 victory over Bolton back in September, during which he brandished five yellow cards and two red, including one for Joe Edwards. Kettle has taken charge of 11 matches in total this season.
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