KARL Robinson praised his threadbare squad for their brave performance against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Saturday.
While it may not have been the most exciting of cup ties, the difference between the two sides, separated of course by a division, was almost impossible to see as Dons frustrated their hosts with their efficient use of the ball in midfield, and even having the better chances to win the game.
But with the injury problems continuing to limit Robinson’s team selections, he could only name five on his substitutes bench.
“I think we deserved to win,” said Robinson afterwards. “We were very good today. To think we’ve come here today with seven first teamers. I looked at the bench and I’ve got two 16-year-olds, 15-year-old and a young goalkeeper!
“I think Dele was excellent and Giorgio, he’s still in school and to come to a ground like this and put in a performance like that was excellent. It was them or Mick Harford or Wrighty!”
Alan Smith, Darren Potter and Ryan Harley seemed well in control in the centre of midfield, rotating and passing the ball neatly between the three, which began to aggravate the home supporters as Wednesday struggled to get near the ball.
Robinson said: “We looked like we had a lot of cohesion and rotation in the three. I was really pleased. To come here against this club and conduct ourselves like we did was great.
“We had a game plan. If that worked then it frustrated them. It’s not important for me to get carried away with them, and the way we played today was excellent.”
But while drawing with the Championship side may be the silver-lining from the otherwise drab 0-0 draw, the fixtures are beginning to pile up, with the replay set to add another midweek game in January.
“It’s a frustration, but it’s also nice,” said Robinson. “We’re still in the best cup competition in the world.”