Rasulo needs to find his groove, says Dons boss Neilson

Giorgio Rasulo
Giorgio Rasulo

Giorgio Rasulo still has a lot to prove to manager Robbie Neilson, despite scoring four goals in less than 24 hours.

The 20-year-old netted a hat-trick against Newport Pagnell Town in Dons' 4-1 win on Friday night before firing them into the lead against Aylesbury FC on Saturday afternoon.

Rasulo opened the scoring against Newport Pagnell and Aylesbury FC

Rasulo opened the scoring against Newport Pagnell and Aylesbury FC

The midfielder has struggled to make an impact on the first team since bursting onto the scene in 2012, but was handed a new one-year deal last month by the manager to keep him at the club for another season.

Despite impressing his boss in the back-to-back friendlies, Rasulo still has a lot to prove to Neilson, who wants to see more from the youngster.

"He scored four goals but I think there's a lot more to come from him - he needs to dominate games a lot more.

"When he gets into the groove he can be exceptional, but the groove needs to be 90 minutes - it can't be 10 minutes here or there. If we can get him doing that on a regular basis, we'll have a very big player here."

Rasulo's strike on six minutes gave Dons the lead at Haywood Way in their third and final local friendly before flying to Hungary on Sunday afternoon.

Bradley Bell came close to doubling the lead but was inches away from converting Callum Brittain's cross, but Charlie Hawtin's header six minutes from the interval equalised for the home side.

With Neilson ringing the changes at the break, the game lost pace and stuttered but there were still chances at either end. Conor McGrandles, who has impressed so far, saw a shot skim wide but will want to forget his free header around the penalty spot which went well off target.

At the other end, Aylesbury FC had chances but never really got close to testing academy keeper Alfie Jones.

But Sam Nombe ensured Dons kept their 100 per cent record when he latched on to a through ball, neatly lifting the ball over the Moles keeper to win it four minutes from time.

"Credit to Aylesbury FC, they were really well organised," Neilson said afterwards. "The first 10 minutes was a bit of a shock for everyone because they were a very good team. But it was a good outing for us, especially considering we played last night as well. The boys looked fatigued, and Aylesbury FC really pushed us.

"It's a great set up here, and they're a great team in the way they played, their energy and how well energised they were.

"It was a real test for us today. This is proper football, not like sanitised stadium football. You can hear the shouts, the crowd. I enjoyed it."

"We played in a 3-5-2 formation, the way we want to play. We tried a few different things, and hopefully it'll benefit us in the season if we choose to play that way. And in terms of fitness, it has been tough week for the players."

There were two concerns for Dons fans though, as they saw Robbie Muirhead and Kieran Agard hobble off prematurely. But Neilson calmed fears surrounding the pair.

He said: "They'll both be OK. At this stage, it's about getting fitness up and not getting injuries but fortunately they're just dead legs and I expect both to be training with us in Hungary."