MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 00:51:19
Nov 21, 2015 at 3pm UK at ​Stadium MK
Attendance: 14,508
MK Dons
Bowditch (30')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Dembele (45')

Preview: MK Dons vs. Fulham

Sports Mole checks on the preparations of both sides ahead of Saturday's Championship meeting between MK Dons and Fulham.

MK Dons and Fulham will be targeting a return to top form after difficult spells for both clubs prior to the international break.

Fulham's search for a new manager continues following the departure of Kit Symons, while the hosts head into the game just one point above the relegation zone.

MK Dons

Karl Robinson, Manager of MK Dons during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and MK Dons at Ashton Gate on October 3, 2015© Getty Images

Karl Robinson will certainly not have been expecting life to be easy when his side secured promotion to the Championship, but the MK Dons boss will be fully aware that a solution to their current problems must be found sooner rather than later.

A run of three successive defeats came to an end with a 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic at the start of the month, before a 2-1 loss to promotion chasers Brighton & Hove Albion ensured that the squad were dealt another blow heading into the international break.

As each week passes, the picture continues to change in the bottom half of the table, but with one point separating them from the relegation zone, Robinson will be hopeful that the break brings a response from the players.

"I think we can take heart from the way we've played. We feel we should have more points than we've got and that's the disappointing thing, but hopefully over the next few weeks we can try accumulate some points and move away from the bottom three," Robinson, who has been typically upbeat about his side's campaign so far, told the club's website this week.

Meetings with Fulham, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brentford and Ipswich Town over the next couple of weeks will push Robinson's optimism to the limit, but it is a run which could change the direction of the club's season should they improve quickly.

In truth, the club's supporters would have expected that this campaign would be a tough battle throughout, but a run of good results may be required to keep the confidence high as they look to avoid slipping into the bottom three.

Recent form: WLLLWL


Ross McCormack celebrates scoring for Fulham on September 13, 2015© Getty Images

For Fulham supporters, the past 12 days have been spent checking social media every few minutes to find out who is the new favourite to replace Symons, whose 14-month spell in charge came to an end when he was sacked before the international break.

The move appeared to be designed to help the club have a replacement lined up before this weekend's visit to Milton Keynes, but as potential candidates continue to pile up, Fulham seem to be no closer to appointing a new manager.

Fulham advisor Alan Curbishley, Nigel Pearson, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Paul Tisdale and John Carver have all been linked with the job, but it was Reading boss Steve Clarke who emerged as the frontrunner when reports suggested that he would be willing to swap the Madejski Stadium for Craven Cottage.

However, it was reported on Thursday that Clarke had changed his mind and rejected the approach from Fulham, who are believed to be considering another offer to the former West Bromwich Albion boss.

First-team coaches Mark Pembridge and Sean Reed look set to take charge of the side on Saturday afternoon, and the pressure is on the current squad to avenge the defeats they suffered to Burnley and Birmingham City, respectively, earlier this month.

Consistency is the big issue for Fulham after winning five and losing six of their 16 league games this season, and with the club currently sitting eight points off the playoff spots, the questions on and off the pitch need to be answered as soon as possible.

Recent form: DDWWLL

Team News

Despair for Wycomber players as Alex Kacaniklic of Fulham (C) celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Capital One Cup first round match between Wycombe Wanderers and Fulham at Adams Park on August 11, 2015© Getty Images

Fulham will be forced into at least one change, with the suspended James Husband likely to be replaced by Luke Garbutt at left-back following his red card against Birmingham.

Changes are possible elsewhere, too, as Alexander Kacaniklic pushes to earn a recall to the starting lineup.

Robinson could be considering making changes to his attack, and Daniel Powell may lose his spot in the team as Dean Bowditch bids to start alongside Nicky Maynard in attack.

Josh Murphy may also return to the side from the start after coming off the bench in the defeat to Brighton.

MK Dons possible starting lineup:
Martin, Spence, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Potter, Poyet, Murphy, Baker, Bowditch, Maynard

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Lewis, Ream, Stearman, Burn, Garbutt, O'Hara, Cairney, Christensen, Kacaniklic, McCormack, Dembele

Head To Head

Since the founding of MK Dons, these two sides have never met in a competitive fixture.

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We say: MK Dons 1-1 Fulham

Fulham look set to make the trip without a new manager in place, and while it always seems difficult to predict what kind of performance they will deliver, the eagerness to impress the incoming boss should produce a response from the players. The international break arrived at a good time for both sides, but a draw looks a strong possibility.

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Who will win the Championship clash between MK Dons and Fulham?

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Reading manager Steve Clarke looks on ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Reading on October 24, 2015
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