Ability rather than sentiment is earning Lewington a spot in Dons' side

The MK Dons stalwart is still being 'managed' on his return from injury
Dean LewingtonDean Lewington
Dean Lewington

Dean Lewington would not be on the pitch is he was not adding to the quality of the side, Mike Williamson said after the club captain made only his eighth appearance of the season on Saturday.

Having amassed nearly 900 games for MK Dons during his career, injury has hampered the 39-year-old hugely over the last 12 months, turning out just 19 times during that period. Still with his fitness being managed after severe hamstring issues, Lewington may miss out on the action against Grimsby Town on Tuesday night at Stadium MK though as he is being eased back in.

Williamson admitted while the harsh reality of football cannot take into account legacy and sentiment when picking a team, the on-field abilities of Lewington have brought him back into the fold on merit and what he adds to the side.

"He's huge for the club, and for us on the pitch," said Williamson. "He was one of the big voices at half-time, frustrated with the penalty decision, but he helped channel the frustration and came out in the second-half and gave that performance which was really pleasing.

"He wouldn't be on the pitch otherwise - that's the brutality of the industry. You can be the best character, best trainer, can have hundreds of appearances and be a fan's favourite, but you still have to produce and he still is. To have him here and involved now is great.

"We have to be careful as he's still coming back from this injury, but he's huge to have around and he really adds quality and character on the pitch."