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READ | Opposition in focus - MK Dons

21 December 2017

MK Dons provide the opposition for Paul Warne's Rotherham United as they visit the AESSEAL New York Stadium in League One on Saturday. We take a look at who the Millers are facing in our opposition analysis....

In the Dugout

37-year-old Robbie Neilson was a midfielder in his playing days, starting at the Rangers youth Academy before going on to represent Heart of Midlothian, Cowdenbeath, Queen of the South, Leicester City, Brentford, Dundee United, Falkirk and East Fife, making over 290 appearances. He also represented Scotland at Under 21, B-Level and senior level. As a player, Neilson won the Scottish Challenge Cup, in the 2002-03 season with Queen of the South, and the Scottish Cup with Heart of Midlothian, in the 2005-06 season.

As a manager, he started at Hearts as the U20s Development Manager in August 2013 before being promoted to head coach in May 2014. He gained promotion with Hearts in his first season and became the Scottish Championship champions. Neilson was shortlisted for PFA Scottish Manager of the Year award and in his second season in charge, Hearts finished third, qualifying for the 2016-17 Europa League. In December 2016, Neilson joined MK Dons.

Stats

MK Dons currently sit 17th in League One, five points clear of the relegation places. In their last five league matches, they have drawn four and lost one. In that time, they progressed to the third round of the FA Cup, beating Maidstone United 4-1 but exited the EFL Checkatrade Trophy after defeat to Chelsea Under 21s. In their last fixture they drew 2-2 with high-flying Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park, with goals from Chuks Aneke and Kieran Agard.

Previous Meetings

This is the ninth time these teams have met since MK Dons were founded in 2004. Rotherham have only prevailed once, while there have been four draws between them, with MK Dons winning three times.

In the last fixture, Rotherham won 4-0 away at Stadium:MK in April 2016. Goals from Matt Derbyshire, after 54 seconds, Leon Best, Kirk Broadfoot and Richie Smallwood gave the Millers three points in the Championship and helped them on their way to second tier safety under Neil Warnock.

Ones to Watch

Former Wigan goalkeeper Lee Nicholls had six separate loan spells at different football league clubs before moving to MK Dons in 2016. The former England Under 19s player has kept six clean sheets this season.

In defence, former Wales Under 21 defender Joe Walsh partners on loan Wolves defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell, who has chipped in with three goals this season. They can also call upon former Manchester United man Scott Wootton and Bristol City loanee Scott Golbourne.

In the midfield, the star man has been former Arsenal player Chuks Aneke. The former England Under 19 has scored five goals and chipped in with five assists this season. Mali international Ousseynou Cissé provides defensive cover and on loan Nottingham Forest winger Gboly Ariyibi has chipped in with four goals out wide. The Dons also have centre midfielder Ed Upson amongst their ranks, who has four goals and five assists this season.

Former Rotherham striker Kieran Agard, who netted 32 goals in 90 games for the Millers, is the Dons top scorer this season with six. Their other options include Southampton loanee Ryan Seager, Swedish international Osman Sow or Dons' academy product Brandon Thomas-Asante.


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