Neilson will fight to keep Ben Reeves at MK Dons next season

Ben Reeves celebrates his goal against Southend
Ben Reeves celebrates his goal against Southend

Robbie Neilson will do everything he can to keep hold of Ben Reeves next season.

The Northern Ireland international scored Dons' second in the 2-1 win over Southend at Roots Hall on Monday, but is just two games away from his contract expiring.

Having suffered an indifferent season, with injuries plaguing his progress all campaign, Reeves could leave the club as a free agent in June, but manager Neilson says he's desperate to keep him/

"Ben Reeves is a top level player for us,"Neilson said afterwards. "He's one of the key men but the issue is keeping him fit. If we can keep him here, he will be a key player.

"I definitely want to keep him, but it's always hard to keep hold of them. We'll try as hard as we can to keep him. You saw here today he can be a top player for us."

In a disciplined display at Roots Hall, Dons had the better of the chances in the opening half, despite looking under pressure from the home side as they sought to move up into the League 1 play-off spots.

But goals from Joe Walsh and Reeves early in the second period set Dons apart as they turned the tide. While Southend hit the post twice, only a Simon Cox penalty in stoppage time was worth writing home about for the home side.

"I was pleased," Neilson added. "In the first half, we had a bit of trouble because Southend pushed us high and aggressively.

"In the second half though, we managed the game really well. We created a number of chances and didn't give a lot away and that's credit to the players.

"At this time of the season, it can be difficult to motivate yourself, but the key thing we're playing for is pride, and we did that today."