MK Dons will host Northampton Town in the EFL Trophy at Stadium MK on Tuesday 8th September 2020 in their opening Group C South match. Kick-off is at 7pm.
MK's defensive duo Warren O'Hara and Regan Poole are both fit to face Northampton after missing the weekends' Carabao Cup defeat against Coventry City due to injury.
The Dons will also miss the likes of Ben Gladwin, Richard Keogh and Kieran Agard. Although MK boss Russell Martin wants more additions to the squad he has told the MK Dons website it'll be unlikely any new faces will feature.
As for Northampton Town, new attacking signings Joe Nuttall and Benny Ashley-Seal will be in contention for the tie. The Cobblers will still be without Sam Hoskins, Nicky Adams, Scott Pollock and Shaun McWilliams who are all out of contention as they are all still recovering from long term injuries.
Both managers are expected to make changes to their sides to get minutes into their squads and rest players ahead of the League One season which kicks off on Saturday.
Both managers are expected to set up in a 3-5-2 system.
MK Dons: Laurie Walker, Dean Lewington, Warren O'Hara, Regan Poole, Lasse Sorensen, David Kasumu, Jordan Houghton, John Freeman, Callum Brittain, Sam Nombe, Joe Mason
Northampton Town: Jonothan Mitchell, Micheal Harriman, Luka Racic, Fraser Horsfall, Joe Martin, Chris Lines, Christopher Missilou, Ricky Korboa, Morgan Roberts, Joe Nuttall, Benny Ashley-Seal.
MK Dons come into the game in poor form, they haven't picked up a win since they returned for pre-season, their most recent defeat coming against Championship side Coventry City in the Carabao Cup.
On the other hand, Northampton are in good form, with only one defeat in their last six matches, they are fresh off the back of a three-nil win against Cardiff City in round one of the Carabao Cup and will be hoping to continue their good cup form in the EFL Trophy.
MK Dons: LLLLDD
Northampton Town: WLDWWW
Ones to watch
Highly rated midfielder David Kasumu will be looking to continue his run of good form after solidifying his place in the Dons midfield as a result of through their academy into the first eleven.
Irish forward Joe Mason will pose a threat for MK. The experienced forward has played across the EFL with the likes of Wolves and Cardiff City. The 29-year-old has over 275 appearances and will look to use his know-how to get the better of the Northampton defence on Tuesday night.
As for the Cobblers, new signing Joe Nuttall will look to impress on his Northampton debut. The forward on loan from Blackpool has struggled to gain consistent first team football in recent years and will hope to kick start a goal scoring run for the Cobblers against the Dons.
New Cobblers forward Ricky Korboa will be looking to add to the two assists he picked up on his debut against Cardiff City on Saturday. The assists were a promising sign for Korboa and the EFL Trophy will be a fantastic chance for him to continue to prove he's got what it takes to play in Keith Curle's side.
The two sides have met 14 times since their first meeting at Stadium MK in August 2008 where the dons came out one-nil winners in a League One clash.
Since then the Dons have got the better of the Cobblers eight times, with the other six occasions resulting in Northampton wins (3) or a draw (3).
The two sides last competitive meeting was a dramatic League Two encounter where the points were shared in a two-all draw back in December 2018. A late Junior Morias goal earned Northampton a point, after coming back from two-nil down.
How to watch
Despite the opening day of the League One season looming over MK, Russell Martin insists that his side are fully focussed on Tuesday nights game. The Dons boss said on their website:
"This is a game and a competition we want to do well in. There is a big prize at the end of it, in this competition. Financially it helps the Club and a day out at Wembley is something not many players get to experience.
“It’s also another chance to improve. Players have to want to keep their shirt and want to show us they can sustain what we want and be consistent in what we are doing.”
When asked about the threat of Northampton he said:
"Northampton have their own identity and real clarity in what they are doing. When a team really know what they are doing, and have the culture to match, that brings real dangers."
Cobblers boss Keith Curle has said he won't change the way Northampton will set up despite the fact he might make some personnel changes for the tie. He told Northampton Chronicle and Echo:
"It's all about the fundamentals and embedding those fundamentals day in, day out, week in, week out, and we don't change because it's a different competition or different opposition," he said.
"Our fundamentals are in place for whoever we play against and that won't change."
Despite the match being in the group stage of the competition, there has to be a winner. If the match ends level after 90 minutes, it will go straight to penalties, each team will get a point and a bonus point will be awarded to the winners of the shootout.