Meet Town's opponents: An unbeaten Canary returns, while a Dons legend kicks on past 800 games

General view ahead of the Sky Bet League One match at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

MK Dons, travel to Portman Road this weekend - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town entertain MK Dons at Portman Road this weekend, looking for a victory to keep their play-off hopes alive. MIKE BACON takes a look at the Dons.

DONS NICE AND SAFE

It took six League One games at the start of the season for MK Dons to record their first league victory of the new campaign - a 2-0 home win over Gillingham. And they only recorded one more win in their next five.

Milton Keynes Dons' Scott Fraser (left) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with

Milton Keynes Dons' Scott Fraser (left) celebrates scoring their side's winner at Hull with Will Grigg during the League One match at the KCOM Stadium in February, as the Dons pulled clear of the drop. - Credit: PA

It meant a stuttering start for Russell Martin's Dons, but a fine February that saw them lose just one in six moved them up the table, before four straight wins in March has secured their League One status.

They currently sit in 13th place on 54 points, five points and five places below Town.

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In the current last six-game form guide, the Dons are nicely placed in fifth place, thanks to those four victories - Town are in 13th and three unbeaten.

Dons fell to their first defeat in five matches on Easter Monday when they lost to Crewe, and have only suffered back-to-back defeats four times this campaign.

File photo dated 14-11-2020 of Milton Keynes Dons manager Russell Martin at the Sky Bet League One m

Milton Keynes Dons manager Russell Martin - the former Canary was never beaten by Town as a player. - Credit: PA

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MEET THE GAFFER

Russell Martin will need little introduction to Town fans.

The former Norwich City captain, making his first visit to Portman Road as MK Dons boss, was likely to have got an 'interesting' reception had fans been in attendance at Portman Road. But they're not, so they will have to boo from their settees as they watch the game on iFollow.

Martin, who made 309 appearances for Norwich, boasted an unblemished record against the Tractor Boys during his playing career, and scored in a 5-1 victory at Portman Road back in 2011 en route to promotion from the Championship.

Connor Wickham of Ipswich Town (R) fires in a cross past Russell Martin of Norwich City back in a de

Connor Wickham of Ipswich Town (R) fires in a cross past Russell Martin of Norwich City back in a derby game in 2011 - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Martin, speaking ahead of this weekend's game, didn’t hide from the fact that, for him, there would be a little extra riding on the match.

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“We’ll prepare properly as we do with any game but when you play for a club for so long, and they are their biggest rivals – put it this way, if there were fans then I’m sure I would’ve got stick going there," he said. Not wrong Russell!

Milton Keynes Dons’ Dean Lewington during the Sky Bet League One match at the KCOM Stadium, Hull. Pi

Milton Keynes Dons’ legend Dean Lewington. 800 games for MK Dons and has just signed a new contract. - Credit: PA

MK LEGEND

Dean Lewington is an MK Dons legend. Against Burton Albion two weeks ago, he made his 800th appearance in all competitions for MK.

The Kingston-upon-Thames-born defender/left back began life at Wimbledon in 2003 - a season they were relegated. He made 32 appearances.

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Having moved to Milton Keynes in 2003, Wimbledon were relaunched in 2004 as Milton Keynes Dons - Lewington has been there ever since.

He has now played those 800 games for the Dons and, after penning a new deal to remain at Stadium MK is closing in on more League appearance records.

Lewington recently surpassed Alan Knight in fifth place for league games played for one club in post-war English football history, and is now closing in on Terry Paine’s total of 713.

Jon Nolan celebrates scoring during the first half at MK Dons. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Jon Nolan celebrates scoring during the first half at MK Dons. Picture Pagepix Ltd

THE LAST TIME

Daniel Harvie rescued a draw as MK Dons brought Ipswich's 100% start in League One to an end when the two sides drew 1-1 at Stadium MK back in October.

Town had taken the lead through Jon Nolan, but Martin's side got a deserved second-half leveller.

Ipswich took an early lead with their first attack of the game when Freddie Sears' cross caused confusion in the Dons' six-yard box and Nolan connected with the loose ball to fire past Lee Nicholls. It proved to be Town's only shot on target all game.

Dons drew level in the 54th minute when Lasse Sorensen's cross found Harvie unmarked inside the Ipswich box and he curled into the net. Town dropped from top to third.

Milton Keynes best loved pieces of art The Concrete Cows on display at the Midsummer Place shopping

Milton Keynes' best loved pieces of art The Concrete Cows on display at the Midsummer Place shopping centre, Milton Keynes. Created in 1978 by artist Liz Leyh, the cows were once cynically said to symbolise a new town consisting entirely of concrete! Very unfair. - Credit: PA

DID YOU MOO?

The famous Concrete Cows in Milton Keynes, are an iconic work of sculpture, created in 1978 by American artist Liz Leyh. There are three cows and three calves, approximately half life size. In a TV programme, The Sculpture 100, the Concrete Cows were included in a list of the 100 most influential works of 20th-century open-air sculpture in England.

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