JAY O’Shea’s first goal of the season not only rescued a point for MK Dons on Tuesday night, but could also have earned the midfielder a more regular place in the starting line-up.
Charlie MacDonald regained his place in the first 11 after scoring against Yeovil on Saturday, and O’Shea is hoping that his equaliser against Notts County will mean the same for him.
O’Shea said: “I just had one thing on my mind, and that was to get the touch back across the defender to make the space and find the far corner. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in – so I was delighted.
“Hopefully I can get back on form now. The goal will give me a bit of confidence, and hopefully I’ll be able to get a run in the team like I did at the end of last season.
“I don’t think I started the season well by my standards, and obviously the gaffer felt the same and took me out of the team.
“I’ve gone away and worked hard and done well in the 20 minute spells I’ve been on the pitch recently. And to get the goal, hopefully I’ll get back in the manager’s plans.”
And it’s goals Dons need. The team have hit the net just twice in their last four outings, despite creating countless chances along the way. O’Shea thinks Dons need to put more sides to the sword in the first half of games, rather than leaving the door open for their opponents to get a foothold, or even a lead, in the game.
He said: “I think we need to start better. We need to take chances in the first half rather than put ourselves under pressure.
“Coming out 1-0 down and chasing the game, it’s always going to be hard. But we had the crowd behind us, we go the goal, and we were unlucky not to get the second I think.”
Manager Karl Robinson’s squad offers him several options in midfield, and O’Shea is playing most of his football from the bench of late. But while the competition for places is fierce and getting ever harder, the Irishman prefers it that way and thinks it is the best way for a team to get promoted.
“We want to have the best players around us because we all want the same thing,” he said. “You can’t be selfish and think ‘I wish there wasn’t better players here’ because you don’t want it to be easy to be playing every week – you want to be pushing yourself and have others around you pushing you too.
“There’s a lot of experienced players in the squad now and hopefully they’ll be able to help the younger players. It’s that sort of thing that will get teams promoted.”