Team changes send a message to the whole squad - Tis

Stuart Moore
Stuart Moore

After making five changes to his starting line-up against Newport County on Tuesday - including his goalkeeper - Paul Tisdale says his entire squad now know they must be ready at all times because they may get called upon.

Stuart Moore made his first league start for the club in place of Lee Nicholls, while Ouss Cisse and Callum Brittain came in having not played at all in 2019 as Dons picked up their first away win since November, lifting them to fourth in League 2.

"It's a message for everyone ," said Tisdale. "There is a lot to gain by doing well, but there's always another game, every day is a new opportunity. Every time you play in the first team or reserve team, you're being judged.

"We haven't got a lot of time left, we're into the final third of the season. We've got plenty of competition for places, we've got a big squad. Tuesday was a good thing because it reminded everyone that if they're out of the 18, they're still available for selection and can go straight in and play. It's a high quality problem."

Nicholls' omission and Moore's inclusion, Tisdale said, was a testament to his squad's preparedness , and was delighted with Moore's performance as Dons kept their first clean sheet since New Year's Day.

He said: "As a forward player, you expect to come off the bench and be used regularly – at the other end of the spectrum you have the goalkeeper who rarely gets used. Stuart did fabulously. He has been ready, he has trained appropriately, and hasn't for a moment shown any disappointment for not being picked.

Lee Nicholls

Lee Nicholls

"When you get your opportunity, you have to take it. It was tactical, it wasn't through injury, and he took it. He played really well, it's his job to repeat that next time he gets the chance."

And while Moore looks set to retain his place in goal for Saturday's trip to Carlisle, Tisdale says the door is not shut on Nicholls.

"Lee has to be ready now," the manager added. "You draw a line, take a deep breath and try to get back to enjoying it and trying hard. He's a good goalkeeper, there's no doubt about that, he's had a tough month or two, and he now has to be ready for when he gets his chance again."