Martin has a lot of respect for Curle as Cobblers and MK Dons go face-to-face

Local rivals separated by just a single point in League One table
Russell Martin.Russell Martin.
Russell Martin.

MK Dons manager Russell Martin and Cobblers boss Keith Curle are both hoping to move further away from the relegation zone and closer to mid-table when their two teams face one another this evening.

After a slow start to the season, Dons have taken four points from their last two while Town are keen to build on Saturday's crucial 3-2 victory over Wigan Athletic. The two have already met once this season with MK winning out 3-1 in the EFL Trophy.

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"Northampton gave us a really tough test this season," said Martin. "I really like Keith Curle as a person and a manager. He’s really got them going over the last couple of seasons a lot and I’ve got a lot of respect for him in the game.

"It’s a tough test for us and we need to build on two positive performances. We need to turn it into a game we want and impose our game plan on them.

"They make it difficult for teams at their place, they are really aggressive and are really on the front foot they’ve some real quality in their team.

"We’ve analysed Saturday’s game, we’ll show the players what we think they can improve on. We’ve some bits we need to reinforce from them, we need to go there and learn from the last two games and impose our game plan."

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It will be an intriguing battle at the PTS tonight between two contrasting styles. MK Dons have enjoyed more of the ball than any other team this season, averaging 62 per cent possession which is well clear of next highest Peterborough (53%). Town, meanwhile, average 45 per cent, higher than only two other teams.

"MK Dons have their style of play and they've got their philosophy," said Curle. "They can be very pleasing on the eye but I think they would have spoken about creating more goalscoring opportunities for the amount of play they have.

"They've been working on getting that balance right. It's excellent to keep possession of the ball but ultimately you need to create chances because the likelihood is the more you create, the more goals you will score.

"But I've watched them and I like the way that they play. They've got good individual strengths and they've got a good team ethic in terms of how they play, but they've got weaknesses as well.

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"It's an opportunity to get back-to-back wins and there's nothing better than doing that on Tuesday against MK Dons on our home pitch. Our fans won't be there but we know they'll be watching and we're in a good place.

"We've had a few negative results but there have been positives in some of our performances and we're learning. We're learning about the division, we're learning about ourselves and we're enjoying the education that we're having."