Crewe Alexandra: Quick start crucial to chances against MK Dons, says Harry Davis
HARRY Davis says Crewe must come out of the blocks firing if they are to emerge with a positive result at League One promotion hopefuls MK Dons tomorrow.
The Alex are gaining a reputation as one the division's quickest starters, with four of their eight goals so far this term coming within eight minutes of the first whistle.
It is a nice habit which centre-half Davis believes is particularly useful away from home when his side are wearing the underdogs' tag.
That will certainly be true tomorrow when Crewe, having drawn four on the spin, visit a side whose bid for one of the top two spots is based largely on their excellent home form.
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In fact, the Railwaymen's victory odds of 6/1 are about as long as they can be expected to reach on their comeback season in the third tier.
"There is no getting away from the fact it's going to be tough," said Davis.
"They have a big budget for this division with some big-name players, and we will have to rise to the occasion to get anything.
"We know that it is always going to be difficult to get results away from home this season, but we have to start winning some games... and a victory this weekend would be massive.
"MK Dons are unbeaten at their place, but if we can get a goal early doors like we have been doing then maybe we can rattle them a little.
"But although we respect the opposition and work towards what they are doing, we can't worry about them too much. We want to be the ones who set the pace."
Crewe's present run of going in at level-pegging will equal a club record if the spoils are shared at Stadium:MK.
The Gresty Road side have drawn five on the bounce four times in the league before; in the springs of 1924 and 1968, late summer of 1987 and autumn of 2010.
Many supporters would probably accept the offer of a point before kick-off this time around given the Dons' firing power of Charlie MacDonald, Luke Chadwick and Alan Smith.
Alex old boy Ryan Lowe is also pushing for a starting berth, while their main source of goals probably comes from in-form frontman Dean Bowditch.
Davis said: "Bowditch will be on a high after his hat-trick last weekend (in a 4-1 win at Bury) and he is going to be a real threat.
"They are very impressive going forward but it is our job to stop them and there is no reason why our defence can't go there full of confidence.
"We had a set-back at Brentford (a 5-1 defeat), but apart from that we have been quite solid so far this season. We're working hard to make sure that continues."
Midfielder Abdul Osman is the major doubt, suffering a knock on one ankle and twisting the other. Ollie Turton would be expected to be drafted in as his deputy.
Forward Mathias Pogba (knee) will feature from the bench, while Byron Moore will come in for Brendon Daniels.
Chuks Aneke sits out the last game of a three-match suspension.
Gary MacKenzie is bidding to win his place back at the heart of the MK Dons' defence following a dead leg picked up at Bury, with Antony Kay most likely to make way.
Former Port Vale loanee Jay O'Shea is fighting Daniel Powell for a place on the right flank in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Lowe vying with McDonald for the lone striker slot.
Crewe boss Steve Davis said: "They have some fantastic players and play great football. It will be one of the toughest matches we face all season.
"But we have a lot of belief in ourselves."