Handing Mathieu Baudry his first start since May was a speculative gamble according to Dons manager Paul Tisdale, but one which paid off.
While his debut may have been overshadowed by Dons' late collapse against Northampton on Saturday, throwing away a 2-0 lead in the final 12 minutes to draw 2-2, Baudry's performance was one of the huge positives for Tisdale.
The defender joined Dons in the summer from Doncaster, dropping a division to play in League 2. However, joining injured, his debut was marred when, used as a late substitute against Crewe in August, he was sent off after just seven minutes.
During his suspension, he suffered another injury and has not been seen since. Injuries to Joe Walsh and Jordan Moore-Taylor left Dons short at the back of late, and when asked, his manager said Baudry was 'a long way off' being fully fit.
But the Frenchman was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up at the PTS Academy Stadium on Saturday, but he showed what he was capable of. Calm, assured on the ball, Baudry read the game throughout, marshalling Baily Cargill and George Williams brilliantly - impressing and vindicating his manager.
"It was a big day for him," said Tisdale. "We weren't even considering playing him less than 24 hours ago. He has been training for a couple of weeks, but when needs must sometimes.
"We've had issues in the back line with injury, and every now and then as a manager, you have to speculate.
"I know he's a good player but he hadn't played for so long. Considering how long he had been out, I thought his performance was exceptional."