Karl Robinson has backed ‘frustrated’ striker Nicky Maynard to find his goal-scoring boots before too long.
The 29-year-old was Dons’ leading scorer in the Championship last season, finding the net eight times.
But in three matches this season, Maynard has struggled to get chances, let alone score, prompting criticism from fans.
Robinson though feels the criticism is harsh and backs his man.
“Every fan judges a striker on the goals they’ll score,” he said. “If you look at Nicky Maynard’s goals, they’ve come from very productive wide players.
“Nicky is a top striker, and I feel sorry for him at the moment. He’s getting some unfair criticism at the moment in my opinion. He wants to score goals, and he loves being here. He’s frustrated though.
“On Tuesday, we didn’t cross the ball from wide. How can a striker score if the ball isn’t coming into the box? People are judging Nicky on getting battered by centre backs and working off scraps.
“Ian Wright was here on Tuesday, and he said even he’d have a hard time without the ball in the box.
“He was the leading goal scorer for a team that got relegated last year. He will score goals, we see it in training, and we’ve seen it in the Championship. It will come. We’ve got to stick with him.
“I’ll be critical of him though - he should have scored the one late on against Bradford, but even he’ll admit that one.
“He gels the dressing room. He’s a mix of the young and the old, he’s a really influential person in the dressing room.”