Hat-trick hero Benik Afobe can’t take his foot off the gas yet, even though he’s beaten another of his manager’s targets.
Karl Robinson challenged his striker to surpass Patrick Bamford’s record of 17 goals before January, but Afobe’s first career hat-trick in the 6-0 mauling of Colchester moved him on to 18 for the season.
But in passing through the barrier, Robinson challenged him now to get to 20.
“Now he’s got to get to 20! It sounds harsh, but that’s the way it is. The pair of them could get to 30. They’ve got to get five between them in the next month, with some big games coming up. We know how difficult it’ll be.”
Despite his incredible record so far this season, Robinson was keen to point out Afobe’s flaws, and said he could have even more to his name.
“Benik hasn’t scored a goal inside the six yard box. Those are the ones that tot the tally up, if you need to when you’ve already got 18! He looked fresh today. It’s not because he’s playing all the time, but it’s because he’s being treated right.”
And his hat-trick doesn’t guarantee him a spot in Tuesday night’s team against Sheffield United.
Robinson added: “He didn’t score against them here (in the Captial One Cup defeat). Both he and Will (Grigg) know when they’ll be playing in the next four games. That allows them to prepare right and max it out.
“I thought Will Grigg was man of the match on Tuesday night, so why did I drop him? He was sensational and he was taken out for Benik today.”
Saturday’s 6-0 win over Colchester was a club record for Dons - their biggest margin of victory - and is one that Robinson dedicated to the fans who cheered them off the field following Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Rochdale.
“It’s always nice to get club records,” he said. “I’ll dedicate that win to the fans on Tuesday night. We went into the game full of confidence.
“We probably didn’t play as fluent as we did on Tuesday, but we dominated like we did on Tuesday. That’s what you get when we stick together.
“The players were all sensational today. Dele’s goal reminded me of Stephen Gerrard’s goal in the FA Cup.
“Ten clean sheets before December, 50 goals before December, my two strikers have 25 between them before December. Benik Afobe has past Patrick Bamford’s record before December too. It’s the perfect day, and you don’t always get them.
“We believed we could score goals today. We tried to replicate what we did against Rochdale.”