Dons arise for Sir Tom in PNE clash

Sir Tom Finney

Sir Tom Finney

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Fans of MK Dons will rise to their feet in the seventh minute of tonight’s match to honour Preston North End’s greatest ever player Sir Tom Finney.

The sad news of the PNE legend’s passing on Friday, aged 91, has touched the hearts and minds of people throughout the world.

And the Dons are keen to show their respect for one of England’s best ever players when they take on North End at the Stadiummk tonight.

They will stand and applaud in the seventh minute to signify the fact that Finney wore the No.7 shirt for both Preston and England.

PNE fans did something similar during Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Leyton Orient.

By a quirk of fate, the Dons were North End’s opponents at Deepdale when the club celebrated the great man’s 90th birthday nearly two years ago.

Dons manager Karl Robinson said: “We want to do a minute’s applause in the seventh minute in celebration of one of the most iconic men in sports history.

“He was unique in his services as a footballer, and off the pitch as well.

“He was a great testament to football. And if we can help celebrate his life in the right way then we will gladly do it.

“We were part of his 90th birthday celebrations too. It’s a shame that we were part of those celebrations, and now of his passing.

“We want to do something very classy, not because we have to but because we want to. He was a role model in the way he conducted himself and in the way he performed.

“Football has lost an unbelievable person. He was a national treasure.”

Meanwhile, the Dons floundering play-off hopes have been handed a shot in the arm over the past 10 days.

Robinson’s men appeared to be sliding out of contention in League One after a four-match win-less run which garnered just a single point.

However, two wins in a week – including Ben Reeves’ last-minute winner on Saturday in a 2-1 victory over Oldham Athletic – has reignited to the Dons’ top-six push.

Currently in 10th spot, MK, who reached the play-offs two seasons and ago and finished agonisingly outside of the top six last season, are now seven points behind Peterborough, who hold sixth spot.

The win against Latics – theri first come-from-behind victory since May 2012 – could claw even more ground back if they were to come out on top against North End tonight.

Matchwinner Reeves said: “My feeling was more of relief because we were pushing as much as we could to get the goal and eventually it came.

“We were disappointed as a team with our first-half performance but the good thing is we were able to turn it around in the second half and come out positively.”

The victories in the last two games mean the Dons take on North End in confident 
mood.

Reeves said “We’re just trying to concentrate on the next game and that’s the mentality we’ve had going into our last two games.

“It’s what we need to keep doing instead of worrying where we could be or should be in the table.

“We just need to concentrate on the next game and keep trying to get three points in every match we play.

“The main thing for us now is to concentrate on tonight and hopefully get another three points then.”

Robinson is keen not to talk too much about the possibility of achieving a play-off place, and is taking things a game at a time. He said: “We need to have a consistency across the board. It seems among the media and our younger fans – even the chairman – when we win, we’re going up and when we lose, we’re going down.

“Our focus is the next game and if we accumulate enough points at the end of the season, then we’ll cross that bridge.”