There may have been a few Dons fans hitting the panic button after news of Benik Afobe’s transfer, but Will Grigg proving is he’s more than capable of stepping up to the plate.
The 23-year-old, on loan from Brentford, has scored one and set another up in the two games since Afobe’s departure as Dons have picked up four points to keep them right in the hunt for the League 1 title.
Arsenal’s decision to sell Afobe to Wolves came as a shock to Dons boss Karl Robinson, who admitted he’d heard nothing from the Gunners with regards to a recall on their striker before he was forwarded to Molineux.
And while he has been targetting new front men to fill the void left by top scorer Afobe, Grigg is proving more than qualified to continue Dons’ challenge for automatic promotion this season.
“Will Grigg has been brilliant since Benik left,” said Dons captain Dean Lewington. “It shows the quality we have got. Benik got the headlines, but we’ve still got a fantastic striker.
“We had it last year with Patrick Bamford. Sometimes it can unsettle teams. Benik was a massive part of what we did here, and he was a very big player for us. It was hard when he left because he’s close with some of the boys.
“It can unsettle the ship, but the boys have been great, they’ve all stepped up.
“We learned our lesson last year. We didn’t fill the hole last year when Patrick left. But Will has been scoring, so it’s less of a change.”
Grigg arrived at stadium:mk three weeks earlier than Afobe, but it was the Arsenal man who got the early march with two goals against AFC Wimbledon, marking his terratory in Dons folklore.
From there, he didn’t look back, netting goal after goal, endearing himself to the Cowshed faithful.
While Grigg’s goal-scoring exploits have been half as good as Afobe’s were, it may raise a few eyebrows to note that in the some of the season’s top games, against Manchester United (4-0), Crewe (6-1) and Oldham (7-0), Grigg was leading the line. And he netted in all three.
And his attitude since Afobe’s departure has shown a new side of his personality to Dons boss Karl Robinson, who believes he is an more complete player than his former strike partner.
“Will has been magnificent,” said Robinson. “He’s a great lad, he’s really different. He’s unique, I wouldn’t say strange!
“He’s a very talented footballer, on and off the pitch.
“You can see that in his performance levels. He’s only 23, and there’s so much more growth and development.
“His work ethic is sensational. He’s got the all-round package, he scores goals, he brings players into play. He almost ticks every box.
“He hasn’t got Benik Afobe’s electric pace, but he’s got more attributes to his game.
“I think he was happy to go under the radar, he’s not here to get the plaudits, but to play.”