Headache but not a hangover in Dons defence

Paul Downing

Paul Downing

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Four full backs, three centre halves, two goalkeepers - Dons boss Karl Robinson is more like a cat that got the cream than a partridge in a pear tree.

Rarely has it been said at Stadium MK: Dons have options in abundance at the back. A clear-out over the summer saw Robinson ditch five defenders and a goalkeeper, but certainly in the case of Cody Cropper, Matt Upson, Lee Hodson and Jordan Spence, distinctly second choice.

Scott Wootton

Scott Wootton

But with Paul Downing, Scott Wootton, George B Williams and Lee Nicholls coming in over the summer and the emergence of Ben Tilney, Dons are in a strong position at the back.

In the case of full backs Williams and Tilney, both are likely to be vital understudies this season. But all three will have given Robinson something to consider after impressing in the EFL Cup.

Who to play at centre back though will prove more troublesome for Robinson though.

Joe Walsh appears tried and tested after learning the ropes in the Championship last season, but Downing and Wootton have both looked solid playing alongside him, and indeed playing together as they did at Reading on Tuesday night.

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Wootton may have the upper hand in the stands after his dramatic late winner at Rochdale on Saturday, but Downing, after initial teething problems in the friendly against Everton, has looked equally as assured, aerially dominant and confident with the ball at his feet.

And 17-year-old Oran Jackson will be nibbling at the trio’s heels soon enough, but will need more time with the first team to get used to the rough and tumble of League 1.

While Robinson has always been keen to keep his back four as consistent as possible, for this season at least, he’s blessed with round pegs for the round holes.