Martin praises performances of returning duo

Jordan Moore-Taylor and Ben Gladwin are beginning to get back to their best, according to Russell Martin.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 10:00 am
Jordan Moore-Taylor

Moore-Taylor made his first start for MK Dons in more than two months in the 2-1 win over Rochdale on Tuesday night, while Gladwin's road to recovery following two years sidelined with knee injuries continued with another promising show from the bench.

Speaking after the game, Martin praised several of his players, but felt Moore-Taylor and Gladwin are showing signs of becoming key men for his side.

"(Moore-Taylor) did really well," said Martin. "He looked a bit nervous at first, but second half was much more of what you come to expect from Jordan. He was great in training, and it was the right time for him.

Ben Gladwin

"It was difficult because Joe Walsh has been brilliant for me, and I told him that when I took him out of the team. It's no reflection on him, but we'd lost two games and I gelt Jordan gave us something we needed in terms of a voice and composure. I'm pleased he's back, and now he needs to maintain those performance levels.

"Ben was excellent when he came on. His understanding and feel for the ball, his passes and knowing where his team-mates are. He's put two people on goal from 40, 50 yard passes along the floor which not many people at this level can do. He's showing what he's about.

"We need to get him fitter, but I really believe in Ben. If we can keep him fit, and manage him, he wouldn't be at this level if he didn't have those injuries. He's showing his real quality."

The introduction of Sam Nombe at half time, at the expense of David Kasumu saw Dons turn the game on it's head as they put behind them a tepid first half to battle back to win.

Sam Nombe

"I wanted a reaction from Sam," Martin continied. "He was frustrated not to start and I get that, so when he plays, he has to make the most of the time he gets on the pitch and make sure he's in the frame for the next game, and he did that. He was superb."

But there were few questions over the man of the match as Carlton Morris stood out from the crowd, not only netting the equaliser but playing a key role at both ends of the pitch.

Martin heaped praise on the Norwich City striker, saying: "Carlton was the best player on the pitch. Not just his performance, but he's a leader. He set the tone for us in the second half."

The Dons boss was without two players for the game though, with both Conor McGrandles and Joe Mason missing out. Neither, though, are expected to be missing for long.

"Conor has a whack on his foot but he will be back on Saturday," Martin confirmed. "We tried to train yesterday but it was too sore. He held his hands up and said he couldn't give us everything. He was due to start, so it was a change we had to make.

"Joe has tweaked a muscle, he should be ok and shouldn't be out for long. We'll have him back in the squad as soon as possible. Thankfully, it's not too bad."