Matteo wary of Colchester test

ROBERTO Di Matteo, the former Chelsea maestro who is now the boss at MK Dons, is anticipating a much sterner challenge from Colchester United second time around.

Carl Marston

ROBERTO Di Matteo, the former Chelsea maestro who is now the boss at MK Dons, is anticipating a much sterner challenge from Colchester United second time around.

The high-flying Dons cruised to a 3-0 win at the Community Stadium in mid-September. They have not looked back since that day, while the U's parted company with their old manager, Geraint Williams.

However, the U's own progress over the last three months has not been lost on Di Matteo.


You may also want to watch:


“Colchester have picked up a little bit with the new manager (Paul Lambert). We'll see on Monday night what they are going to do. We expect them to give us a tough game,” confirmed Di Matteo, who signed an extension to his contract after Christmas.

“They have changed a few things, and when we played there, it was a very balanced game. Although the result showed in our favour, it was a bit harsh,”

Most Read

The Dons have won their last four games on the bounce, with two away successes at Brighton (4-2) and Bristol Rovers (2-1), and two home triumphs over Leeds (3-1) and Southend (2-0). Like the U's, they have not played since December 28.

Their last defeat was at home to Scunthorpe (2-0) on December 6. In fact, although the Dons have won eight of the 12 league fixtures at their new ground (stadium:mk), they have lost the other four - to Swindon, Peterborough, Stockport and Scunthorpe.

The Milton Keynes club have also bowed out of a couple of cup competitions, despite enjoying home advantage, to Bradford City in the FA Cup and Bournemouth in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Their main outlet for goals is striker Sam Baldock, who scored twice late on in the win at the Community Stadium. Local boy Baldock tops the scoring charts with 10 goals, and he is set to play alongside regular partner Aaron Wilbraham this evening.

Scotsman Peter Leven, who adds some grit to the central midfield, is the Dons' second top scorer with seven goals.

Di Matteo's men have been equally impressive in defence, led by their long-serving full-back Dean Lewington. He nullified the impact of U's winger Mark Yeates in the first match.

Centre-half Jude Stirling has recently been rewarded for his fine performances with a new contract which will keep him at stadium:mk until 2011.

U's fans can still take offer of the Dons' discount ticket prices - two adults for just �20 - if they contact the U's ticket office (0845 437 9089) before midday today. Otherwise, tickets at the ground will be priced at �16.60 for an adult, �11.70 for concessions (students and over-60s) and �6.80 for juniors.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter