We’ve got to help the strikers, says Bowditch

Dean Bowditch (Milton Keynes Dons) during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes Dons at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England on 12 September 2015. Photo by George Ledger. PSI-0876-0032
Dean Bowditch (Milton Keynes Dons) during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes Dons at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England on 12 September 2015. Photo by George Ledger. PSI-0876-0032
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Dean Bowditch has called on the MK Dons midfield to start creating more chances for Sam Gallagher and Simon Church after another goal-less display away at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Despite holding the defeat play-off finalists for 70 minutes, former England internationals Stewart Downing and David Nugent hit the net to secure the 2-0 win for Boro.

Gallagher was ineffective up-front, and was withdrawn after 55 minutes, replaced by Church who hit the post within minutes of his introduction.

But that was about as good as it got for Dons, who struggled to carve anything in front of goal.

For Bowditch, playing in behind the central striker, the midfield need to start creating more for the strikers to alleviate the pressure beginning to mount on the front men.

“It will happen, but we’ve got to make sure we make chances for the strikers,” he said. “We didn’t create much for Sam today. We’ve got to take responsibility for that, you can’t put all the pressure on one person.

“I’ve been there so many times - I haven’t scored since the opening day. But I don’t let it play on my mind because I know they will come. At the end of last season, I got a few in succession.”

Despite not creating an awful lot in front of goal, Bowditch felt Dons were a match for Middlesbrough for long periods, and a moment of magic from Downing opening the scoring was the real difference.

He said: “I thought for 60, or 70 minutes we were outstanding, and limited them to shots from long range. We were quite comfortable, I felt. They’re a fantastic side with some great individuals.

“But since the first one went in, we were going to struggle to get back into the game.

“It’s disappointing to come away with nothing.

“We set up to drop and prevent them from creating chances. But when you do that, it’s difficult for our attackers to create something from so deep.

“But we did create some half decent chances, and Church’s chance was the best of the lot I thought. At that stage, I still couldn’t see them scoring.”

The result leaves Dons down in 14th place, but it is also three league games without a goal - a stark contrast for the who ran riot, scoring 101 league goals last season.

Bowditch though is urging patience, saying the step up is something everyone has to adapt to.

“It’s difficult for fans, media and us to adapt to this league,” he said. “Last season, we were able to turn teams over and we found some games difficult.

“That was what Middlesbrough were like with us - we frustrated them, but once you get one it’s a huge relief. Middlesbrough struggled against us, and we’ve got to take credit for that.”