Brighton and Hove Albion will look to preserve the only unbeaten record in the Football League when they entertain Karl Robinson’s MK Dons at the AMEX Stadium this afternoon.
Following the Seagulls’ 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, they have slipped to fourth after eight wins and seven draws in their first 15 games, falling out of the automatic promotion spaces on goal difference after a run of three straight league draws.
The Dons will be looking to build on their 1-0 success against Charlton Athletic last time out, and move further clear of the bottom three.
So the Seagulls need a win to climb back to the top spot, and Dons would hope for at least a point to distance themselves from the relegation zone.
Here are three things to look out for in this afternoon’s encounter:
1) The Brighton pair of Tomer Hemed and Sam Baldock
The Brighton strikers haven’t been in ideal form of late, despite a start to the season which saw Hemed net five times in nine appearances for the Seagulls.
Their lack of goals as a pair have contributed to the fact that Chris Hughton’s side have drawn almost half of their games this season, and the fact that the Seagulls haven’t won a game by more than one goal all season.
They will need to start scoring more regularly if they are to win promotion this year, or indeed beat the Dons.
2) Karl Robinson’s setup
The Dons are sitting in 20th place, and could open the gap between themselves and the relegation zone to seven points should they win on the South Coast.
It will be interesting to see how Robinson sets up his team for this game, especially given that Brighton have sat back and defended, and then pounced on the counter attack when the opposition let their guard down this season.
If they set up defensively then they would be inviting pressure, but also placing the onus on the home side. If they go after the Seagulls, then they would leave gaps to be exploited.
It’s a tough decision for Robinson.
3) Carl Baker
The midfielder is the top scorer for the Dons this season, having scored four times in the league, twice as many as the next best players.
Baker will be crucial to the Dons’ success in this game and this season, and has played a huge part in their season so far, netting crucial goals against Leyton Orient and Cardiff City.
Turn up in his best form in that Dons midfield, and Brighton could have a tricky task on their hands this afternoon.
Brighton and MK Dons fans… what do you think the score will be? Can Brighton remain unbeaten? Or do MK Dons have what it takes to end the Football League’s only unbeaten record? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!