No-one at MK Dons is giving up on promotion just yet after they comfortably swept aside Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
Goals from Dean Lewington, Stephen Gleeson and Darren Potter ensured Dons kept up the fight for the play-off spots, beating Rovers 3-0 at stadium:mk.
After the disappointment of Tuesday night’s 3-2 defeat to Shrewsbury, Dons boss Karl Robinson admitted his side had to scale a mountain if they were to make it to the top six, but the victory over Ronnie Moore’s side had helped them begin the climb.
“We all still believe. I want six wins out of nine, It should be five after Tuesday, but we know what happened there.
“This Tranmere team have been top for a long period of this season and they are a very good side. That was us being good today.
“I mentioned the mountain to climb - we’ve gone up a few metres but we’ve got a lot further to go.
“It’s frustrating, because we played better on Tuesday and got nothing for it. We’ve played first, second and fifth recently and taken seven points off them.
“When this team is challenged against better teams, we perform at higher levels.
“That second half looked like two very tired teams to me. We both have small squads. I never really felt we’d get anything but the victory.”
Dons’ first and third goals were almost carbon copies of each other. First, Dean Bowditch’s strike hit the ball for Dean Lewington to head in after nine minutes, before Shaun Williams’ free kick clattered the woodwork, falling kindly for Darren Potter to finish the job five minutes into the second half.
And Robinson admitted that having players in the right places for hte rebounds was something they’ve worked on.
“If you only put one or two people in there, you’re not going to get those,” he said. “We’ve tried to overload that area and take a bit more of a risk from those set pieces. I thought Dean Bowditch’s strike which hit the bar should have gone in, and I thought Shaun Williams’ free kick should have gone in too!
“They were two fantastic strikes, and it was a very good performance.
“Our movement looked good, and we got the reward for that.”
Stephen Gleeson and Patrick Bamford were the surprise inclusions in Robinson’s team selection, and both were withdrawn in the second half as they still lack full match fitness.
Robinson said he knew the risks when picking his side, but unfortunately had to risk Dean Bowditch after captain Dean Lewington was forced off early.
He said: “I took a big chance with this team selection. Bowditch, Gleeson and Bamford aren’t fully fit, maybe 60 or 70 per cent. It was a case of square pegs in round holes to an extent. But I wanted to get game winners on the pitch.
“I went for a run on Thursday and I was tinkering with the team in my head. I went with Patrick out wide to keep an eye on Bakayogo and get him to do more of the defensive side of things.
“I was meant to bring all three of them off the pitch, but with Lewington getting injured, I just had to tell Bowds to stand still for a bit!”