Richie Barker believes Carl Baker could be MK Dons’ signing of the season.
The 31-year-old was named League 1 Player of the Month for November on Friday morning, having broken into the first team.
During November, Baker scored twice - both against Port Vale, once in the FA Cup and once in League 1 - and provided two assists on his way to winning the gong.
And having worked his way back to full fitness after six weeks out of the game, Head of Coaching Barker thinks Baker could be the surprise of the season.
“I think, arguably, he’s one of the best signings of the season,” he said. “I’m sure people will have other opinions - Will Grigg, Benik Afobe or Kyle McFadzean.
“When you see his circumstances, having not played football, unfit, not knowing what he wanted to do, or where he was going to go, to becoming player of the month. He’s scored a winner and set up countless others as well.
“He’s a fantastic player to work with. His attitude is second to none, and that rubs off on the younger players. It shows them what it takes to have a career in this game.”
Baker was a free agent after being released from his contract with Coventry City at the end of August, and Barker admitted he was surprised that Dons were able to land him, given the clubs he later found out were also in the hunt for his services.
“We had discussions about him, we knew him, we knew what he could do. He turned down some pretty good offers to come here, so it shows what a good job the manager has done here.
“He was one of the players we were fortunate to get.”
Baker, a former captain at the Sky Blues, has now integrated himself into the group, and according to Barker, uses his mentality as a leader to make the group stronger.
He said: “In the past when I’ve signed players, it’s a real tick in the box if they’ve been captains at other clubs. You can’t have enough of those sorts of people.
“Once you’ve been a captain, it can be tough to go somewhere else and not be in charge, but credit to Carl, he does it without the armband.
“You could tell in the first few weeks that he was frustrated with himself because he couldn’t do what he wanted to. He sees now that everything is done for the right reasons, and he has only got better.”