Talismanic Gilbey is dragging MK Dons up with him

Alex Gilbey celebrates his tenth goal of the seasonAlex Gilbey celebrates his tenth goal of the season
Alex Gilbey celebrates his tenth goal of the season
The midfielder scored one of the goals of the season against Mansfield, then another four days later against Salford

Alex Gilbey is powering his way to a third consecutive MK Dons Player of the Year gong in his first year back at the club.

The 29-year-old returned to Stadium MK after three years at Charlton Athletic in the summer a new man, and has been a talismanic figure for the club since.

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Already surpassing his best season in terms of goal contributions – with ten goals and eight assists with nine games still to go – Gilbey has adorned the captain’s armband too in the absence of Dean Lewington.

Having been voted Player of the Year in his final two seasons at Stadium MK in 2018 and 2019, Gilbey looks the clear favourite to regain the crown, with assistant head coach Ian Watson spotting a clear lift in his performances again in the last few weeks.

“The biggest compliment you could give him is that you can see how much this club means to him,” Watson said. “He wants to run in all directions, press the ball, make runs when we win the ball, track back when we lose it. We're really lucky to have him, and epitomises everything we want at the club. And I think the fans can feel that too.

“Gilbs epitomises everything we've got in that room. He wants to drive us forward, he's a winner, and wants to win everyday in training. And he looks after the boys as well.

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“We've got an unbelievable club captain in Skip (Dean Lewington) who is priceless around the place, but Gilbs is similar. He'll text the boys to see if they're ok, he'll put an arm around them when they need it. We've got a leadership group in that changing room who really help us as a management team.

“On the pitch, his performances have been outstanding. He runs when I think he can't have anything else to give and then keeps going. I'm really pleased for him because it's reward for all his hard work.”

Though there were fears when top-scorer Max Dean suffered a hamstring injury in January of where goals would come from, Gilbey has stepped up to the plate, scoring three in his last four, with stunners against Mansfield Town and Salford City.

Watson added: “He has the desire to score, which is hard to find in players who aren't forwards. He's desperate to get in the box and score. His goal against Salford was world class, a pleasure to watch and one of the best goals I've ever seen live.

"When Max got injured, we felt Gilbs could be one who could step up for us, because he gets into those positions and he has that desire.”