Karl Robinson said he’s keen to keep hold of Stephen Gleeson after his penalty sparked Dons’ comeback to draw 2-2 with Brentford at stadium:mk on Monday.
Gleeson’s penalty 12 minute from time gifted Dons a vital lifeline into the game as they trailed 2-0, while also being Dons first goal at home in more than 10 hours of play.
And after an uncharacteristicly poor showing on Good Friday against Port Vale, Gleeson reminded Dons fans of his worth with a strong showing in the heart of the midfield.
But with his contract expiring in two games’ time, and no sign of a renewal yet, Robinson admitted he’s desperate to keep the Irishman next season.
“I think he hit it as hard as he can! There was a lot of frustration taken out in that penalty. That shows he does care.
“I heard the fans singing that they want him to stay, and that’ll be a tremendous help. I want to keep the best players at the club, and I want to re-sign these players because when they’re fit, we’re more than competitive. It was an important moment for us moving forward.”
Another plus for Robinson was the performance of Izale McLeod, whose stoppage time header rescued an unlikely point for his side.
“Izale has won a penalty, and scored a late equaliser which he deserved. His work ethic today was sensational.
“He seemed to be on the end of every long ball, he was rough and ready. The goal to finish it was a wonderful header. He showed why he’s so liked here, and I can’t ask for much more.
“Today was all about the work ethic. I don’t think we deserved to go in a goal down, it was unfortunate how the goal came about. But we really stood up to the challenge in the second half.
“It was a motivator that we were playing a team already promoted.
“The young players got tremendous game time, but Lewington, Smith, McLeod and Gleeson worked their socks off.
“Those four showed a great work ethic, and it was something I questioned in recent weeks.”
Brentford went into the game already guaranteed a place in the Championship next season, and Robinson said Dons need to take heed of the way the Bees have gone about winning promotion this season if his side are to make it there next term.
“There’s some real positives to take from this game, and some frustrations,” he said. “We have to emulate Brentford like having a big, strong squad, keeping your best players and bringing in good players. With those components combined, you get success.”