Nicholls eager to do better despite being beaten just twice

Lee Nicholls
Lee Nicholls

He was beaten by a wicked deflection and a 'thunderbolt' last month - the only two goals he conceded - but Lee Nicholls believes he could have been better.

The keeper played a key role in keeping four consecutive clean sheets as Dons went more than 400 minutes without conceding. But Lewis Alessandra's deflected strike in the 2-1 win over Notts County was followed up by a stunning strike from Mansfield's Jacob Mellis, leaving Nicholls helpless in the 1-1 draw at Field Mill.

While few will have pointed fingers at Nicholls for either goal, the man himself still believes there is room for improvement in his game.

"Personally, I would have liked to do better, but two goals in one month is something to build on," he said.

"Me and Mel (Gwinnet, goalkeeping coach) have highlighted the goals, and see where I could have done better with them. It's good for me to sit down with Mel, who really pushes me, and has brought a new level out of me. I just have to work hard and in a couple of weeks I'll hopefully be saving those.

"I have been pleased, but there is room for improvement for everyone, as a unit and as a club. We want to keep more and more clean sheets."

Lee Nicholls and Mel Gwinnett

Lee Nicholls and Mel Gwinnett

The drive to do better, even after a month which saw Dons drop just two points from a possible 18, is one which manager Paul Tisdale has hammered home in a bid to keep his squad well-grounded.

The manager said: "It's a fundamental focus of any player to do the very best you can. He did concede two goals, one was deflected, one was a thunderbolt, but we go through the process of asking whether someone could do better, change position, have better footwork. Maybe the ball still goes in the net, but we have to push ourselves.

"In those instances, those two goals, I'd suggest there were things we could have done better. Lee has to ask that, as do the defenders in front of him. Our standards have to be so high and we have to push ourselves. It's a good mindset."