Will MK Dons’ lack of pre-season tests be a problem for Paul Tisdale?

MK Dons fans have questioned their club’s pre-season schedule after a miserable 2-1 reverse to local rivals Northampton Town on Friday.

Starters Lee Nicholls, Russell Martin, and George Williams – alongside late substitutions Ben Reeves and Dylan Asonganyi – were the few shining lights in what was a worrying evening for Paul Tisdale’s side.

The team often looked disjointed and confused against a well-drilled Northampton Town side.

Owing to Take That, Sir Rod Stewart and German music Giants Rammstein playing gigs at Stadium:MK this summer, pitch renovation had been delayed causing the Dons to be unable to play any home friendlies over the summer.

With Championship sides normally reluctant to host lower-division sides in friendlies, the Buckinghamshire outfit were forced into filling their fixture list with the likes of Oxford City, Brackley Town, Welwyn Garden City, and Hemel Hempstead. The only fixture against league opposition coming against the Cobblers on Friday evening.

The Dons also had no significant pre-season camp, instead spending a week at former England training centre Bisham Abbey where they faced Oxford City behind closed doors.

The Cobblers, on the contrary, faced newly-promoted Premier League outfit Sheffield United, Championship side Sheffield Wednesday and League One Coventry City in a comprehensive pre-season. Whilst none of these games were won by Curle’s men, the difference in preparation between the two sides was evident at Sixfields.

With just a week until their opening fixture against Bury – in doubt due to the Greater Manchester club’s financial difficulties and failure to present proof of funding to the EFL – the Dons need to drastically improve to avoid defeat at the first hurdle on their return to League One.


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