Izale McLeod needs to up his work-rate on the training pitch if he is to keep his place in the MK Dons side, according to manager Karl Robinson.
McLeod bagged a brace in the 3-0 win over Walsall on Saturday, and won the penalty for Ben Reeves to score the other goal at the Banks’s Stadium.
But after finding himself on the bench for most of the season after the goal-scoring exploits of Patrick Bamford, Robinson said saw a remarkable change in Dons’ all-time leading scorer this week.
“To be fair to him, and I will be critical, he needs to work harder in training because that’s where you do most of the damage.
“He has missed out for most of the season because Patrick Bamford was in unbelievable form, but I don’t feel he trained right. But the way he trained this week is remarkable.
“He has been like that all week. If you train right, you take it into the game.
“If he works hard all week, he’ll play on Saturday, it’s as simple as that. He’s a good man and I really like him.
“The only way to prove a point to a manager is to work hard in training and I have no other choice but to play him.
“We’ve worked on a way of playing and we stuck to it. I said to Izale that I want to see the number on his shirt, not the sponsor on the front, and to let Reeves be the man to link.”
It turned out to be a comfortable afternoon for Dons, who picked up a much-needed win. Although it doesn’t change their standing in League 1 - remaining 10th - it is certainly a confidence boost.
And Robinson is confident that more is to come from his side, and that this season isn’t over yet.
He said: “The lads have worked hard all week. As soon as the transfer window closes, it gives managers a chance to get back out on the training pitch. We’ve all worked really hard. I know where we are right and wrong.
“It feels like we’re in a good place at the moment. I was fearful coming here, but we’ve steamrollered the game, and we could’ve been three or four clear in the first half.
“The rest of this year will be exciting. We won’t get carried away. We’re not writing this season off but we need to use this season to strengthen for next. We are good enough to be up there, but we need to find consistency.”
There is no rest for the manager though, who left the Banks’s Stadium to catch a flight to Holland to cast his eye over potential new signings - one of which he hopes to have wrapped up on Monday.
“We still need a striker,” he said. “If Izale isn’t scoring, you need someone waiting in the wings to come in.
“This doesn’t mean I’ve finished. I want more. I think I’ve got a striker coming in on Monday, but I’ve said that a lot recently and I’ve fallen short!”