Tim Stoodley looks ahead to Posh's fixture with MK Dons on Saturday.
Peterborough United head for their first home game of 2017, as they look to bounce back from Tuesday night's disappointing clash, with a tie against rivals MK Dons at the ABAX Stadium on Saturday at 3pm. The Dons are in indifferent form, finding themselves 16th in the table after a disappointing start to the season - a start that cost them their manager Karl Robinson his job. Robbie Neilson is the new gaffer after leaving his native Scotland to guide the Bedfordshire side to four wins in eight games. He's injected a new lease of life into the team and brings with him a successful outlook from Hearts, where he attained a 56% win rate from over 100 games.
The Dons last game came against their other divisional rivals, Northampton Town, as they hit the Cobblers for five in a 5-3 thriller. Prior to that they suffered defeat to Brighton in the FA Cup and could only manage a scoreless draw away to fellow strugglers Chesterfield.
Their biggest goal threat comes in the form of one-time Poshie Kieran Agard. He's the Dons top scorer this season and is effective when played in the wide side of an attacking trio. He's matured well since his spell with Peterborough and spearheads the Dons attack as their recognised front-man, alongside familiar name Nicky Maynard.
Edward Upson is another Don to watch, he's an assist-machine and sits in the middle of the park, digging out chances with a clever, mature style of play. He's notched three assists this term and is handy from dead-ball situations.
At the back and there's one name that catches the eye. Mr MK Dons himself, Dean Lewington. He was at the original Wimbledon, before they formed as MK Dons and has been an ever-present since. This season alone he's amassed 2250 minutes on the pitch, a stat that's only superseded by goalkeeper David Martin. It's not a fluke that Lewington is a club hero. He's a near-perfect defender; street-wise, committed and comfortable on-the-ball. He's certainly someone who will have no issues in dealing with players who attempt to hold up play.
Former Poshie Scott Wotton is another familiar name for blues fans to look out for. He joined the club on a two-year deal back in the summer, however he soon picked up an injury.
On the personnel front for the home side, there's no fresh injury concerns from Tuesday nights defeat. Harry and Jermaine Anderson both remain injured, while centre-back Jack Baldwin nears a return to the action. McCann may make changes following the poor showing at Oldham and the likes of Bradden Inman and Martin Samuelson will be hoping they can get some game time.
John Busby is on refereeing duty for this derby-day showdown. The official splits his time between leagues one and two and is a newbie to the football league, having only made the step-up this season. He's young but is held in high-regard, even further proved by the fact he's been given the nod for this one. He's taken charge of 22 games this season, and has dished out an average of 3.9 cautions per game. He's shown red twice. It's his first trip to the ABAX Stadium and his first time in charge of either side.
Peterborough United enjoy their days against rivals MK Dons. The pair have done battle on 22 occasions and Posh have been victorious for half of those matches. The Dons have managed just 8 wins, the most recent of which was actually at London Road back in October, when a Kieran Agard goal was enough to grant MK a 0-1 win in the Checkatrade Trophy. The reverse league match of this fixture, back in August, saw Posh 0-2 winners at Stadium:MK, taking all three points thanks to goals from Andrew Hughes and Michael Bostwick.
The key figures:
League positions; Peterborough United - 8th MK Dons - 16th
Last five; Peterborough United - DLLWL MK Dons - LWDLW
Previous meeting; 04/10/2016 (Checkatrade Trophy) - Peterborough United 0-1 MK Dons
Average attendances (2015/16); Peterborough United - 5,447 MK Dons - 9,452
Top Scorer (league); Peterborough United - Gwion Edwards & Tom Nichols (7) MK Dons - Kieran Agard (7)
Interesting fact; Despite their short history, a number of high-profile players have worn the Dons shirt, including; Jon Otsemboor, Dietmar Hamman, Jimmy Bullard, Angelo Balanta, Paul Rachubka, Tore Andre Flo and Benik Afobe.
Chairman Darragh MacAnthony has confirmed he will personally donate £5,000 to the Chris Turner Stature Fund if the attendance exceeds 8,000 for this game. To further attract fans, there is no price increase on the day for tickets purchased at the turnstiles. Tickets can also be purchased in advance with the costs below;
London Road Terrace - Adults £18, Senior Citizen (60+) £12, U18's £8 and 18-21 year olds £12.
N&P Family Stand - Adults £23, Senior Citizen (60+) £14, U10's Free, U18's £5 and 18-21 year olds £14.
Main North Stand - Adults £23, Senior Citizen (60+) £14, U18's £5 and 18-21 year olds £14.
Motorpoint Stand - Adults £20, Senior Citizen (60+) £13, U10's Free, U18's £5, 18-21 year olds £13.
Tickets can be purchased in advance and are on sale at www.theposhtickets.com, via the Ticketmaster hotline 0844 847 1934* and in person at the ABAX Stadium Box Office.
As this fixture has been dubbed 'Chris Turner day', there will be a minutes applause during the fifth minute of this match, and the club would encourage all who attend to take part. The Chris Turner Statue Fund Committee thank everyone in advance for their support.
*calls cost 7ppm plus your network access fee.