Wide men influence Dons’ attack threat

Dean Bowditch
Dean Bowditch

While the strikers are failing to find the back of the net, MK Dons are looking further afield, or rather wider, for their source of goals this season.

Four from Carl Baker, three from Dean Bowditch, two from Josh Murphy and Daniel Powell, add one more from Rob Hall and you’ve got 12 of Dons’ 19 goals this season.

Josh Murphy

Josh Murphy

Karl Robinson’s squads in the past have prided themselves on being able to score goals from all areas of the pitch.

And with the front line struggling to score on three fronts, it’s time high-time for focus to switch to the men who have done it more often.

It’s hardly a surprise to see both Daniel Powell and Dean Bowditch in the top four scorers in the club’s history. Both have been regular contributors down the years, and with vital strikes from both already this season - most recently Bowditch’s superb opener against Fulham on Saturday - the wings have been Dons’ biggest threat all season long.

Since joining on loan at the beginning of the season, Murphy has been a constant source of threat for Dons. Against Blackburn, he was a stand-out performer and heavily influenced the 3-0 victory.

Top scorer Carl Baker

Top scorer Carl Baker

On Saturday too, he looked lively and eager to get things going, playing a part in Bowditch’s goal, teeing him up with aplomb.

And while last season’s Player of the Year Baker looking hot and cold, he still leads the way with four goals.

It should be a source of comfort that while Dons’ Championship movie currently lacks a leading man, there’s still a threat from the second wave.

But with the club slipping into the relegation zone on Saturday, despite picking up a point against manager-less Fulham, the lack of goals from the strikers is now a significant concern, rather than simply a quirky side note on the tapestry of the season.

Sam Gallagher looks like a gamble which has failed to pay off. The Southampton man hasn’t been seen in a Dons line-up since September 19 and looked void of confidence in front of goal following a couple of sitters which went begging.

Simon Church has calibre but needs a few chances to get his radar right, and Nicky Maynard is still lacking full match fitness, missing pre-season and only joining Robinson’s side in September.

As January looms, the striker market for clubs near the foot of the table will undoubtedly bubble, but whether Dons can afford to get in a striker on hot form, or have to plunge into the loan market with another hotly tipped youngster, only time will tell.

It has to be rectified though, one way or another. But Robinson’s penchant for wingers, and there have been many over the years, might just be key to Dons’ survival.