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When Russell Martin made the decision to leave for Swansea City, MK Dons did not come under immediate consideration for promotion, particularly after a 13th-placed finish last season.
However, Liam Manning has transformed this team into contenders for another stint in the Championship, a 15-match unbeaten streak capitalising on the recent struggles of Rotherham.
Having played a game fewer, Rotherham’s fate remains in their own hands, but all of the momentum is with MK Dons after prevailing in numerous close matches, relishing their tag of underdogs for the title.
Only claiming a 1-1 draw at rivals AFC Wimbledon last time out was naturally a blow, although it felt like a point gained with Troy Parrott‘s equaliser coming 10 minutes from time.
The away form of Manning’s side has been the difference maker so far, but it should not be ignored that they are currently on a seven-match undefeated streak on familiar territory.
MK Dons are not the only team in League One on a spell of excellent form with opponents Sheffield Wednesday having gone six matches without suffering a defeat.
With three draws coming during that period, Darren Moore‘s team are now focused on achieving a playoff spot over the top two, even if success at the weekend will leave them seven points adrift of their hosts with a game in hand.
The Owls recently benefitted from a last-minute goal to see off AFC Wimbledon, but an effort at the same stage undone their hard work against Bolton Wanderers last time out, ultimately having to settle for a share of the spoils.
After witnessing his attack misfire against Wimbledon for large parts of last weekend’s game, Manning could opt to bring in at least one fresh face.
The most likely change is Mohamed Eisa being preferred to Connor Wickham, but Theo Corbeanu will also be hopeful of a recall in a wide area.
Moore could make an alteration in the final third with either Callum Paterson or Saido Berahino in line to replace Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Barring any fitness issues, the remainder of the Wednesday XI could stay the same, with Dominic Iorfa being named on the substitutes’ bench.
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Josh Windass is one of several players who is still out of contention through injury.
MK Dons possible starting lineup:
Cumming; O’Hora, Darling, Lewington; Hayden, Coventry, McEachran, Harvie; Twine, Eisa, Parrott
Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Peacock-Farrell; Storey, Dean, Hutchinson; Hunt, Byers, Bannan, Luongo, Johnson; Gregory, Paterson