Still more to come from Aneke, says MK Dons boss Neilson

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson

He may have scored two and set another up, but MK Dons boss Robbie Neilson says he wants even more from Chuks Aneke.

After spending a year out with a knee injury, Aneke scored his first two goals for Dons in the 5-3 win over Northampton on Saturday, while setting Kieran Agard up for the opener.

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But manager Robbie Neilson feels there is so much more to come from Aneke, who he sees as a creative midfielder more than a targetman.

"I don't see him as a target man, I see him as a midfielder who creates things for others," said the manager. "He can go up front if we need him, but for that first goal - he won the ball in the middle and sent a great ball through.

"He's improving every week, and we can see it each day in training. He was out for a very long time so it's about building him up, but we can see that quality coming through. We changed shape midway through the first half to put him on Taylor, who we thought was their main player, and it allowed us to break in and score through Agard.

"It's huge for him. He's a great kid, he's had a really tough time. The players love him because they can see his quality. He's a very humble boy, so it's really pleasing. He's working so hard, we train them hard but I came in and saw him on the treadmills afterwards. It'll take time to get him there but he's nearing that 90 minute mark."

After cruising to a 3-0 lead, Dons failed to put Northampton to bed and ended up winning 5-3 - though the goals conceded were a source of frustration for Neilson.

He said: It was a tough game as we knew it would be. We're pleased to get the three goals, but disappointed to concede three goals. IT was an exciting one for the fans, but I'd have preferred to win 5-0!

"It's important we have different ways of playing, and today I felt it worked for us. Their threats were quite direct so we had to be strong at the back.

"We were sat in a comfortable position, but we let it slip a bit. It's important to give the fans some excitement and get more in."

Both new signings Robbie Muirhead and Harvey Barnes came off the bench with 14 minutes to go, and the latter found the back of the net for Dons' fifth goal.

Neilson said there's plenty more to come from the duo, and said his existing squad looked immediately at home with Barnes in the centre of the park.

He added: "I thought the two new boys did well. Harvey hasn't got as much first team experience as Robbie, but you can see the quality he has.

"When new players come in and make an impact like that, the players buy in to him straight away. You could see it within five or 10 minutes as George Baldock, Nicky Maynard and Robbie all started making runs for him.

"We're still working away,but I'd like to bring more in. You can see the quality from Muirhead and Barnes, and we waited for them. Hopefully, we can bring in more quality."