MK Dons maybe were slight favorites to get the qualification to the next round of FA Cup away to Northampton, but despite that fact, they will be happy that the team managed to pull out a 2:2 draw and now will have a chance of progressing in front of own fans. Despite early lead with an own goal in 12th minute, players of Northampton outplayed them in the second half and took 2:1 lead with goals from Holmes in 49th and 56th minute.
However, visitors were a bit lucky to equalize eight minutes before the final whistle thanks to goal from Maynard, goal that increased their chances now in front of the second leg. On the other side, team didn’t impress in their 0:5 defeat at home against Burnley few days later, but did improve the image of themselves with a narrow 1:0 home victory over Reading. Still, they are only two points above relegating placed Bristol City and no doubt that Championship remains of first priority for the team. Their coach Karl Robinson already said he will make five changes for this game adding that some of the changes are forced since for example, defender Joe Walsh can’t play three matches in one week, however no doubt that he wants his players to stay as fresh as possible for next league game.
Northampton, on the other side, continued with positive results in League Two, since the team comes from a 1:2 victory over Dagenham & Red. They were better in the first halftime, but without real goal scoring chances, while the hosts surprised them with the lead in 62nd minute thanks to a goal from Doidge. Despite that, visitors reacted well, upped their tempo and quickly sealed the victory with goals from O’Toole in 70th and Holmes in 79th minute.
It was their fourth consecutive victory in League Two, as the team now got tied up with leading Plymouth, with both teams remaining huge favorites for direct promotion as they both stand nine points above fourth placed Bristol Rovers that won’t be going directly to League One. Visitors will be playing with team captain and striker Marc Richards and important in-form offensive Ricky Holmes back in the starting lineup, as they were both saved a bit on last Saturday evening. On the other side, forward James Collins is Cup-tied and won’t be playing here.
Northampton isn’t naive at all, which they showed in the first leg when the team looked concrete enough and could be said, was a bit better opponent. MK Dons will once again be playing with a rotated squad, while the visitors even somehow rested their two key players for this one. I don’t see the home side getting away with an easy victory and the odds surely are worth a try.
picks: Northampton +0.5 Asian handicap