Rovers v MK Dons – Match Preview

Blackburn will be looking for their first 3 points at home this Saturday when they welcome Buckinghamshire-based MK Dons to Ewood Park.

MK Dons

MK Dons come into the match at the same level as Rovers, with 3 points on the board in the league, and with their first win coming last week in a 1-0 win against Gillingham at home. Prior to that, the Dons had been involved in two 1-0 defeats, against Blackpool and Wigan Athletic respectively.

The 2016-17 season ended up being a term of transition for the club from Milton Keynes. In October 2016, they parted company with highly respected and ex-Rovers coach Karl Robinson – having been with the Dons for six years. Their spell under the ex-Rovers coach had seen them yo-yo between the Championship and League 1.

Robbie Neilson took over in December 2016, and he guided the club to a 12th place finish. With the backing of chairman Pete Winkleman, they will be expecting a much higher finish than last year and many of their fans are expecting promotion.

The last game between the two clubs came in February 2016, when Jordi Gomez won a highly entertaining 3-2 with a last minute 30 yard free kick. Due to the lack of history with MK Dons, Rovers have only played the newly named club three times, winning the last, and losing the previous two (one in the League Cup), both at the MK Stadium.

Jordi Gomez
Jordi Gomez’s injury time winner from a 30 yard free kick gave Paul Lambert’s Rovers the 3 points at Ewood Park.

Having lost a lot of experience in the summer with Dean Bowditch, Nicky Maynard and Darren Potter leaving the club, the Dons have have brought in a lot of free transfers and loans to the club.

Aaron Tshibola and Ethan Ebanks-Landell have come in on loan from Aston Villa and Wolves respectively. Striker Osman Sow has been brought in from Chinese Super League side Henan Jianye FC, and scored on his debut in the win against Gillingham last week. Conor McGrandles and Peter Pawlett have also come to the club on free transfers. If you add this to a good group of young players including star man Kieran Agard, having scored 12 goals last season, then MK Dons have a competitive sode.

Rovers are struggling with a few injuries but should welcome Ryan Nyambe back to the matchday squad after recovering from a knock on his knee. Rovers will still be missing Wharton and Lenihan from the back line as well as Bradley Dack in attack.

With this in mind, it is unsure which formation Tony Mowbray will go with – he could go with 4-5-1 like at Bradford, or 5-4-1 like the last home game against Doncaster. Harry Chapman will be pushing for a start after being one of the few that impressed against Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, and Dominic Samuel will hope to continue his goalscoring run having scored in the last two league games.

Rovers need a vastly improved home performance to settle the crowd and put a marker down against a well established League 1 club.

Come on you Blues!

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