Dons keen to keep up the pressure on Preston

David Martin
David Martin

Goalkeeper David Martin isn’t going to let his team-mates step off the throttle between now and the end of the season, despite securing a spot in the League 1 play-offs.

Saturday’s dismal 0-0 draw with Port Vale was enough to guarantee Dons a top six spot no matter what happens in the last five games of the season.

But with Karl Robinson’s side still just five points adrift of Preston in second, Martin isn’t ready to give up on the automatic dream just yet.

“The run-in we’ve got is tough, but you’ve got to get points on the board,” he said. “We always put ourselves under pressure and we’ve got to fight for that second spot.

“We’re in the play-offs, but we have to go into it in good form. We all still believe we can go up automatically, and although it’s not in our hands, but you never know.”

Saturday’s game was a struggle for Dons, as they came up against a Port Vale side battling for their lives at the bottom of the table. Having lost their last six, Vale managed to upset the apple cart by drawing with Dons who had won four on the spin prior to Saturday’s trip.

But with a perfectly executed game plan, Martin admitted Dons didn’t do enough to conquer their opponents and close the gap on Preston, who drew with league leaders Bristol City on Saturday.

He said: “We’re disappointed because we knew it was an opportunity. They’ve lost six in a row, but they made it difficult for us.

“With Preston drawing it would’ve been great to get closer to them, but at the end of the season, this could be a great point. There’s still all to play for with five games to go.

“It’s another clean sheet, but we didn’t create enough. It was windy and dry and suited them better than us. But putting the ball in the back of the net hasn’t usually been a problem for us this season.

“I like to take risks as a goalkeeper, but it was so difficult. You knew you would get the ball back but it was going to bobble and I’d be kicking into the wind. We can make excuses, but at the end of the day we weren’t good enough to win it.”

Martin missed six games in February and March through injury, coinciding with Dons’ dip in form. During his time on the sidelines, he watched his team mates pick up just two wins from six matches - though his return has seen them bounce back with four wins and two draws.

But Martin refused to point the finger at stand-in Ian McLoughlin, and said that’s just the way football goes.

He said: “Sometimes that’s how it goes, and you get those runs. I’ve come back in and things have gone well.

“It’s two draws and four wins, but it means nothing if we don’t get promoted at the end of the season.”