Dons will ‘fight like hell’ for a play-off spot

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Karl Robinson will ‘fight like hell’ even though Dons’ play-off hopes took another dashing on Saturday.

A mistake from keeper David Martin allowed James Hanson to tap in the only goal of the game in the 1-0 defeat to Bradford, and sees the gap to the play-off spots open to nine points.

Robinson said it’s not over yet though, and the play-offs are still achievable.

“I’ll fight like hell for it,” he said. “And I’ll never stop. We deserved to win here and we could be in a much more buoyant mood.

“But we need someone up front to consistently score goals. And that’s not aimed at Izale - we missed four or five chances. We didn’t pick the right passes. Our decision making in the final third wasn’t good enough.

“Tactically, we got it right and we played the better football. We were the better team. Bradford worked hard, but I’m frustrated. In the first 20 minutes, we got in some great areas. Everyone will point a finger at Dave, but we have to score.

“I felt we deserved more than we got. I can be critical or protect them sometimes, but we deserved a lot more from the game.

“People will judge us on the score line. But we need to score more goals. We laugh about me always bringing wingers and forwards in, but that’s because we want to score more than the opposition.”

And although Robinson admitted Martin’s mistake cost them the game, he backed his keeper to bounce back.

He said: “You can’t legislate for that. Football is a harsh game. He should because he’s made a mistake but he’ll bounce back. He made a great save from Hanson afterwards too which helped.

“Defensively, we’ve been water tight enough, but Dave is big enough and brave enough to take that. He made an individual error, but he chose to play there. He’ll bounce back.

“I’m sick and gutted.”

Despite the score line, Dons’ back four of Dean Lewington, Jordan Spence, George Baldock and Antony Kay looked bulletproof.

Since Spence’s return, Dons have looked much more consistent and Robinson eyes him as the future of the defence.

He said: “The quality he possesses is obvious and he’s someone I want to bring to the club permanently.

“I see him as the future centre half and he’s someone I desperately want to sign. The club need to work hard to get a deal done.”

But another injury blow leaves Dons threadbare squad looking even more vulnerable. Already without long term absentees Darren Potter, Dean Bowditch, Lee Hodson and Samir Carruthers, George Baldock hobbled off after an excellent performance at right back.

“It’s too soon to tell (about George’s injury). We haven’t got good news on Samir Carruthers or Lee Hodson either. It’s back to the wall stuff, but I’m used to it, we’ve done it for four years.

“He stood up to the challenge. He worked hard all week, we spent a lot of time in the analysis room to help him and he was the shining light.

“Then he goes and gets injured. But there wasn’t a player out there who didn’t put a shift in.

“Right back has been a bit of a curse for us this season.”