Negative comments from Barton spurred Dons on to victory

Josh McEachran said Dons were hurting after the Bristol Rovers manager criticised them

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 11:38 am
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 11:51 am
Joey Barton

The mood in the MK Dons camp was buoyant in the aftermath of their 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night and it was inspired by comments made by Joey Barton.

The Rovers boss accused Dons of playing 'without purpose' prior to the game at the Memorial Stadium. But goals from Scott Fraser and Will Grigg sent the Gas to the bottom of League One, leaving them with a his challenge to avoid relegation with three games remaining.

The Dons players were in vocal and jovial mood as they made their way to the showers behind Russell Martin as he conducted his post-match interviews, alongside rival Barton just a few yards up the touchline.

The morale in the dressing room has been boosted by picking up back-to-back wins, six in nine and losing just once during the period en route to 10th in the table, but Josh McEachran said their mood was higher on Tuesday because of what Barton had to say ahead of their game.

"I think our reaction was because of the comments which came before the game," he said. "We heard we were playing without any purpose, we weren't creating any chances or anything like that, and that hurt a lot of the players. We put in a good performance on Tuesday and hopefully we can take that into tomorrow (against Swindon)."

Though they have been out of the play-off and relegation hunt for a few weeks now, Dons are not willing to give up on the season with three games to go. After a meeting held amongst the squad following the 4-0 defeat to Lincoln City, they set themselves a target to reach before the end of the season. Taking on Swindon Town tomorrow at Stadium MK, Dons could make it three wins in a row while also sending the Robins down to League Two.

McEachran though said after their 3-1 win over Portsmouth in the week, Swindon will be desperately scrapping for their lives and will not make it easy for Dons.

He said: "Swindon got a massive result on Tuesday so will come off the back of a good win. They need to win to have a chance of staying up, so we know it will be a tough game. If we put in a good performance, we'll have a good chance of winning.

"We set ourselves a target we want to reach by the end of the season and after the Portsmouth game and the one on Tuesday night, we're well on our way to that."