Jordan Houghton is filling familiar boots at MK Dons
For years, the 'Darren Potter role' was filled by the man himself. But nearly 18 months without a midfielder playing that role, Dons appear to to have found his replacement in Jordan Houghton.
Rarely one to steal headlines, Potter sat in front of Karl Robinson's back four, not often venturing further forward than the centre circle, doing the nitty-gritty work. But after failing to gel with Robbie Neilson, Potter left after six years for Rotherham.
Since his arrival in the summer, Houghton has quietly gone about his business. Sat in front of the back three/five, Houghton gives off a familiar air - one the Dons fans know all too well.
His strengths lie in keeping possession - no-nonsense football, shielding the defence while being the man to kick start Dons' attacking play. And when he is needed, he adds another body to the back-line protecting Lee Nicholls' goal.
"I've always played at the sitter in a diamond," Houghton said. "I'm not given that much licence around the edge of the box... I do have a bit of licence to get on the edge of the box and push further – it's not just sitting there!
"My game involves a lot of the defensive side, but there is a lot I can give on the edge of the box. I've been on set pieces recently too, so that's another part of my game I can work on."
Both Houghton and Gilbey have started every league game under Paul Tisdale this season, and while Gilbey is the one usually found in the attacking third, it was Houghton who opened his scoring account in the 1-1 draw against Mansfield.
Houghton said: "Me and Gilbs have a good relationship – eight or nine times out of 10, he's the one going forwards while I pick it up from the back three, or five. It's something I need to add to my game, I can strike a ball well, so I need to get into those positions and hopefully score more from that distance."
Saturday's game against Mansfield saw Houghton stand-out. While it will be remembered for his sensational equaliser, the 22-year-old ran the show in the centre of the park, highlighting a side of his game not really seen yet.
He said: "You want to have a pretty game and get the ball on the floor, pass-pass-pass, but the games don't really come like that! I wouldn't shy away from a tackle! Even in the Premier League, you've got to win your battles, then look to play on the deck. It's part and parcel of playing in midfield."