Lee Hodson isn’t ready to get used to the losing feeling after Dons lost their second home game of the season, going down 2-0 to Birmingham City.
The defender replaced Jordan Spence in the first half after the former West Ham man hobbled off the pitch with a toe injury to make his first Championship appearance of the season.
Dons only other defeat this season came against Preston North End two weeks ago, after which captain Dean Lewington said his side may have to become more accustomed to losing matches compared to last season.
Hodson however believes the way Dons have played since, beating Bolton, Cardiff (in the Capital One Cup) and drawing with Reading away from home, shows they’ll do a lot better in the Championship than many have predicted.
“We’ve shown in the last few games that we’re more than good enough to be in this league,” he said. “We are getting results away, seeing out games. Today we lost and we’re disappointed, and it hurts. We have to take the positives.
“We are going to be underdogs whoever we play. But teams will look at us and our results, the way we play, and see we are capable and can play in this league. People will take us more seriously. Birmingham sat back and tried to hit us on the counter.
“I think the lads don’t think about it. We were good enough to be promoted and we deserve to be here.
“All the lads thrive on the challenge and we haven’t looked phased against the opposition we’ve faced. We know how good we can be and if we play they way we can and score goals, we’ll be fine.
“We’ve had a good start to the season but we can’t let this bring us down. We’ll look back at the game and take it with a pinch of salt. We’ve got 44 games to go so we’re not going to let this bring our morale down.”
Manager Karl Robinson felt after Birmingham’s opener, scored by former Dons midfielder Stephen Gleeson, the home side collapsed and made fundamental mistakes to let the game slip away from them.
Hodson agreed with his boss, but felt until the opener, Dons were comfortable and in control of the match at stadium:mk.
He said: “I don’t know whether it was a cross or a shot, only Stephen will know that. We didn’t see it coming. We felt comfortable because they didn’t threaten that much. We couldn’t get back into it though.
“The reaction after the first goal was to try and get back on the front foot. A lot of teams are vulnerable after they score, but it didn’t happen for us.”
Hodson has played in both Capital One Cup games this season, but made his first Championship appearance when he came on to replace the injured Spence on Saturday.
His return to fitness has also seen him recalled to the Northern Ireland squad as they bid to qualify for the European Championships.
And Hodson hopes his game time will pay dividends as he meets up with his international team-mates this week.
“It was nice to be on the pitch but it was disappointing to come on and lose,” he said.
“It’ll be nice to get back involved after my injuries last year. Hopefully I can help the lads, and I’d love to keep my spot in the squad because things are going really well at the moment.
“We’ve got two tough games, so if we win those, who knows. It could be done.”