Milton Keynes Dons’ 2-1 win at Notts County last time out means automatic promotion is in their own hands: win their final three games and they will be a League One club next season.

It was not the greatest performance from Paul Tisdale’s side, who started slowly at Meadow Lane.

However, the Buckinghamshire boys grew into the contest and Chuks Aneke made a vital difference from the bench.


Aneke has been MK’s most naturally gifted player over the previous two or three seasons – even if his attitude has sometimes been in question in the past.

Coming in from the channels, he can produce that one moment of magic by turning an opponent and showing flair as well as finishing ability, which is vital in terms of changing an awkward contest like the one at Notts County.

The professionalism of this MK squad should be credited, too, because they have been very unlucky with injuries, especially at centre-back.

Primary options Jordan Moore-Taylor, Joe Walsh, Mathieu Baudry and Baily Cargill have all spent time on the sidelines, forcing Tisdale to switch from the 3-4-3 he used earlier in the campaign to a system more akin to a 4-3-3.

Russ Martin has offered an experienced head since joining on a short-term contract, while midfielder Jordan Houghton has adjusted to a new role admirably.

MK Dons should take another step towards an instant return to the third-tier when they host Port Vale, who lost 4-1 at home to Stevenage last time out.

The Valiants could mathematically secure their EFL status despite that defeat; Yeovil and Notts County both losing meant the gap to the drop zone remained 10 points with three games to play.

This could be a convenient time to play John Askey’s side; when the former Macclesfield boss took over, there was an immediate rise in performance levels, but since the players have felt comfortable in their chances of staying up, the intensity has dipped slightly.

Plus, energetic midfielder Manny Oyeleke is out injured; he’s the key man who gets Vale going and when the former Aldershot man is unavailable, Vale can struggle to find a natural alternative, which they would need to keep MK at bay.


MK Dons to win to nil –

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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