Ben Reeves so relieved as he returns to action for MK Dons
There aren’t going to be too many positives to take away from suffering a fifth straight Sky Bet League One defeat - but for MK Dons and beleagured manager Paul Tisdale, the playing return of Ben Reeves at the weekend was a big one.
Reeves returned to MK Dons in the summer after a two-year stint with Charlton Athletic, and there were high hopes he could immediately pick up where he left off before leaving the Dons in the summer of 2017.
But an injury suffered in training just weeks after his arrival, meant that prior to the weekend, he had managed just 18 minutes action this season, making one substitute appearance against Shrewsbury Town on August 10.
Well, that game time can be more than doubled now, as after two months on the sidelines, Reeves was back in action in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
He was intrduced as a 65th-minute replacement for Hiram Boateng.
And although the 27-year-old couldn’t quite do enough to help Tisdale’s men salvage anything from the game, he was pleased to at long last be back out on the pitch.
“I’m glad to be back, I’ve worked hard to get here, and a massive thanks goes to the physios,” said Reeves.
“Most importantly though, we are all disappointed with the result and I feel we deserved something from the game.”
Reeves, who made 135 appearances in his first spell at Stadium MK, scoring 32 goals. only returned to full-time training at the beginning of last week.
That went so well that Tisdale was able to name him in the squad at the weekend, and Reeves said: “We had a great week, the intensity was brilliant and we started the game really well.
“I think we deserved more, I’m gutted and I know the boys are as well, we wanted more.
“We know we can’t conceded goals like that, it’s difficult to say but I thought we were the better team.
“I know that doesn’t make a difference when you don’t win the game so it’s hard to take for us. It’s something we need to look at and build on.”
Reeves’ creativity is something that has been sorely missed by the Dons.
Tisdale’s men are one of the lowest scoring teams in league one, with only rock-bottom Bolton Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town having netted less than their 12 goals in 12 games - and they have only scored once in that five-match losing streak.
The Dons’ attacking plans have been thwarted by their lenghty injury list, but the return of Reeves will at least give the Dons manager a different option in the final third.
Indeed. Reeves he showed glimpses of what he is all about at the Memorial Stadium, even though he couldn’t quite set up or notch what he felt would have been a deserved equaliser.
“I’m disappointed because I wanted to do that little bit more,” he said.
“At one point maybe I could’ve shot rather than crossing the ball.
“It’s one of those things, it was in my mind, do I turn and then try beat the man, but because it was such a tight area, I knew the best thing was to try cross it.
“But the good thing about the game was we did get in good areas, whereas in games previously, maybe we didn’t.
“I think the formation worked well for us with the two boys higher up the pitch, they made some good runs in behind with the ball at their feet and they were able to make things happen.
“Hopefully, we can do a lot more of that and work on it and get a lot better.”
Reeves will now be hoping for another good week of training ahead of Saturday’s home date with Coventry City.