Brittain and Poole must battle it out for a spot in Martin's side

Callum Brittain has been kept on the bench of late.Callum Brittain has been kept on the bench of late.
Callum Brittain has been kept on the bench of late. | jpimedia
Defenders both impressing Russell Martin, and giving him a selection headache

A few weeks ago, the thought of dropping Callum Brittain would have been furthest from Russell Martin's mind, but the performances of Regan Poole of late have given the manager something to think about.

The former Manchester United defender, who joined the club in the summer, has had a patchy season for Dons. Coming in and out of the side, Poole has never locked down a first teams spot, while Brittain has been a regular whenever he has been fit.

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The duo had formed a fine partnership early in the season under Paul Tisdale, with Poole playing inside Brittain as part of a back five. However, with Martin preferring a flat four, the pair are not often seen playing together these days.

Regan PooleRegan Poole
Regan Poole | jpimedia

But after a heavy knock in the first half against Shrewsbury, Brittain has been out of the side, with Poole taking his place, and impressing there too.

Poole was one of the stand-out performers in the 1-0 win over Bolton on Saturday and earned the praise of his manager in the aftermath not just for his play, but also for his attitude when he has not been playing. Martin too praised Brittain, who has reacted well to being dropped.

"Regan was excellent again," said Martin. "It wasn't an easy decision because Callum has been one of our top performers. But it sends a message to the rest of the team – if you're training brilliantly every day, supporting your team-mates, you're happy when we win, you're around the lads and your attitude is spot on, it would send the wrong message to take him out when he's doing well. Players will end up thinking 'what's the point?'

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"Callum reacted to the news brilliantly, he's disappointed of course, but his attitude is never in question. He now has to wait for his opportunity again. Not many have played every minute of every game. I have no issue with Callum, when he gets his chance he'll take."