The Big Match: MK Dons v Exeter City

Each week we hope to preview the big match in each division, this weekend League Two had a couple we could have plumped for.

Notts County’s visit to Lincoln City looked an obvious choice, but it is narrowly beaten in the interest factor by Exeter’s visit to MK Dons. Both games should have been early promotion six-pointers, but Notts County’s manager Kevin Nolan is already fighting for his life. Instead, Paul Tisdale’s first game against his old club takes centre stage on the Real EFL.

Tisdale is, or should be, an Exeter City legend. He was the longest-serving manager in the league and took them out of the Conference and into League One. Instead, following a summer of raids on his old club, he might just get a boo or two. Given that he’s moved to MK Dons, a club still disliked by fans for their history, this could be a hostile game despite being at Stadium MK.

In the early table, Tisdale’s Dons are two points behind Exeter in fifth place, but the shape hasn’t yet begun to form in the top seven, not properly. This is still a big clash, the recently relegated Dons are amongst the favourites to go back up, whilst Exeter were expected to fall away after Tisdale left. Instead, they’ve gone from strength to strength.

Hanging on to Jayden Stockley and Hiram Boateng in the summer definitely helped. They’ll both be expected to play in a 4-4-2 formation. They’ll be up against a tight Dons side who have conceded just twice this season, but have also scored just four times. This won’t be a game full of goals, the home side will be compact and look to hit the visitors on the break. The visitors might just do the same.

Tentative, tetchy and tenacious, those will be the words best attributed to the clash. If it is decided, perhaps it will be by the odd goal. In that instance you could see a tougher Exeter than last year nicking the win, Stockley is always worth a goal whilst on the other side, Kieran Agard is struggling to make his mark. He’s playing down the centre this season though and when he does get his sights in, he’ll hit double figures or more.

It could be an uncomfortable game for the home side. Nicky Law had been an injury concern for Exeter, but that appears to have cleared up now. Their win against Cambridge in midweek was impressive; the U’s will be a better side than last season and will lose few at home. The Dons turned in an average display against Grimsby, but this is the same Grimsby that held high-flying Lincoln at the weekend.

It’ll be tight, but we’re going for a 1-1 draw. Bum splinters all round.

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