Martin's new positivity must drag Dons through the next few months
Rome wasn't built in a day, or even after three days on the training pitch, so Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Port Vale on Saturday will not be the end of the world for Russell Martin.
The new manager took charge of his first game after a whirlwind week - one which saw him promoted from player to gaffer after the departure of Paul Tisdale. But the 7,000 or so Dons fans at Stadium MK saw another defeat for their side - their sixth in seven games.
Prior to his departure, Tisdale had warned things may not change until 2020 due to the personnel constraints, and the limitations have been plain to see. The players, though, have been buoyed by the appointment. Not an outside hire, Martin was fighting the same fight until last week and knows the strengths and weaknesses his side possess at this stage. And that positivity and energy has to translate onto the pitch.
And to an extent it did. The performance on Saturday was far more positive than what was seen towards the end of Tisdale's run, but ultimately would come up short against the League Two side, who took the spoils thanks to a 19th minute David Worrall header.
Unfortunately, Martin is facing the same problems Tisdale suffered. Without a sharp front-man to aim for, Dons were blunt in front of goal, though there were chances to draw level at the very least. Jordan Bowery missed at least three great chances, while Ben Reeves should have hit the target when the ball dropped to him 10 yards out, but blasted over. The return of Joe Mason was a huge boost, but after missing three months of the season through injury, the weight of expectation cannot rest on his shoulders alone. Rhys Healey was spotted running at Stadium MK prior to kick-off, which will be a huge boost for the new manager too, but it will still be several weeks before he makes a return.
The challenge for the new manager now is to navigate the next couple of months as painlessly as possible until the cavalry return.