IAN Wright’s voice might have been echoing around in Ryan Lowe’s head as he struck the winning goal to see off Leyton Orient on Wednesday night.
The former Arsenal striker turned Dons first-team coach has been telling the club’s strikers to stay in the box if they are to get on the end of the countless chances the team have been creating of late.
Lowe’s second strike of the season will have lifted a significant weight off the 34-year-old’s shoulders, having sat out for long periods this season, and having been linked with almost every club in Leagues 1 and 2 with a view to a loan move.
And as he smashed home Dean Bowditch’s 41st minute cross, the relief was clear for all to see as he was mobbed by his team-mates, while manager Karl Robinson and his sideline staff celebrated among themselves with similar emotion.
“It will lift a huge weight off him,” said Wright after the game. “It’s all about confidence.
“When you see what these boys do in training, it’s as good as anything I’ve seen or been around.
“But it’s different when you’re on the pitch, you’re in a different state of mind. You have to take that training mentality and confidence out on to the pitch and finish with aplomb.
“I think Ryan has been doing well in training, but then Charlie (MacDonald) has been getting a run out, and he might get a game after that. Things don’t work out for him.
“Then people go on about the strikers not scoring. Sometimes it’s not as simple as that and things can change in the blink of an eye.
“He’s had to adjust his game a little bit. We’ve got some good technical players around the box, but the number nine up top doesn’t really need to be outside of the box much.
“If I was in there, I’d just stay in and around the box because we create chances. You’ve got Luke Chadwick in the hole, Dean Bowditch who is a great player, and Daniel Powell to come back.
“For the Charlie MacDonalds, Alan Smiths and Ryan Lowes, I’d just say stay in and around the box.”
Despite being substituted late in the game for MacDonald, Lowe’s strike and overall performance should land him a starting role in Saturday’s big clash with League 1 leaders Sheffield United at stadium:mk – and as a former Sheffield Wednesday player, he is sure to thrive off the hostile reception he will inevitably receive from the travelling fans.
Dons trail the second placed Blades by six points and know a win will catapult them back into the play-off places, with Wednesday night’s win only seeing them return to eighth for now.
With a trip to table toppers Tranmere their following game a week on Friday, the start of Dons’ all-important promotion push starts here.