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Paolo's Posh Prediction - MK Dons

Peterborough United welcome local rivals MK Dons to the Weston Homes Stadium today, kick-off 3pm.
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Posh ground. Photo: John Baker

Posh returned to winning ways on Tuesday in the Papa John’s Trophy, thrashing Portsmouth 5-1 to progress to the fourth round of the cup and build some much-needed confidence, especially in front of goal.
 
Darren Ferguson will be eager to see his players replicate the goalscoring touch against MK Dons on Saturday as Posh look to revive their league form - winning once in the last five games.
 
Team News and Predicted line-up
 
Darren Ferguson fielded a strong eleven against Portsmouth on Tuesday, making three changes, including the return of Joe Ward for 45 minutes.
 
The right-back underwent a minor knee operation at the beginning of December, missing the last six fixtures for Posh, but got minutes under his belt on Tuesday in his return. It’s unknown whether Ward will start against MK Dons, but is likely to be involved in some part of the game.
 
Nathan Ferguson is suspended for MK Dons after receiving a red card last Saturday against Lincoln City, alongside youngster Ronnie Edwards who is still in self-isolation. Niall Mason or Frazer Blake-Tracey could replace the defender at centre-back unless Ferguson decides to go with a four at the back.
 
Ethan Hamilton partnered Taylor against Portsmouth on Tuesday, putting in an excellent performance before rounding off his evening with a goal. He could force his way into Ferguson’s eleven in place of Brown.
 
Predicted line-up: Pym; Ward, Mason, Beevers, Kent, Burrows; Taylor, Hamilton, Szmodics; Dembele and Clarke-Harris
 
Opposition View
 
Unlike Posh, MK Dons managed to fulfil all their League One fixtures over the Christmas schedule, only losing once in the last five games.
 
Since these two sides last met in December, the visitors have played five times in the past month, compared to Posh with just two fixtures, so fresher legs might determine the outcome on Saturday.
 
However, Russell Martin’s side were inches away from knocking out Premier League side Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday, until a 94th minute goal sent them to extra-time and penalties, in which MK Dons were defeated.
 
Martin is well-known around Peterborough after captaining Posh to the Championship in the 2009/10 season, making 62 appearances in his year and a half spell at the club.
 
We spoke to MK Dons blog, The MK Way, on what we could expect from their side and the key player to look out for. 
 
“I imagine it'll be along the lines of a 3-5-1. We've typically played two up front, but with Morris and Walker both having departed this week, and Mason and Brown lacking match fitness, I wouldn't be surprised to see us go one up top and keep an extra man in midfield. We were forced to against Swindon and were still very comfortable doing so, sticking four past them away from home. 
 
“In terms of style of play, we'll very much want to dictate vast swathes of the ball - however, we've shown in recent weeks that we're getting much better when we don't have it. Our wingbacks will tend to push high and we'll attack in numbers, though it can leave us a bit unguarded at the back and we'll concede the odd silly goal - something that has been our achilles heel this season. Keogh has been pretty solid though, and sounds like O'Hora could be back involved tomorrow - so should be a good game between two good sides!”
 
Key Player – Scott Fraser
 
“A player Posh fans will be familiar with I'm sure as he's been linked with you a fair few times over the years. He was very much our 'shock' signing of the summer, beating away a number of big clubs in this league as well as some in the Championship. A very technically gifted midfielder with a brilliant eye for a pass, as well as having a rocket of a left foot when he's in on goal. Superb mentality as well and is a very respected member of the dressing room.”
 
Last Meeting

 
Just take yourselves back to December 15 when these two sides last met in the league.
 
Clarke-Harris gave Posh the lead inside 30 minutes after guiding Harrison Burrows delivery past Andy Fisher. However, the home side piled on the pressure in the second half and found the equaliser with 12 minutes to go after a composed finish by Cameron Jerome.
 
Posh missed out on the chance to go level with leaders Hull City at the time, while MK Dons rose out of the relegation zone.
 
The last time both sides faced each other at the Weston Homes Stadium was in 2017 in which MK Dons ran out 4-0 winners in a second-half demolition over Ferguson’s men.

PeterboroughMatters Prediction

The next six weeks could determine whether Posh will be in the fight for promotion, with 10 games over January and February. The perfect way to start the hectic schedule is to pick up three points against local rivals MK Dons, and I believe Ferguson’s men will have enough firepower to overcome them.

Posh 2-0 MK Dons

The MK Way prediction: “Unfortunately, can see us getting beat here. London Road has never treated us too well - I think it'll be 2-1 Posh. Hope I'm wrong though!”