Places still up for grabs in Martin's first League One team

The game may have been a dead-rubber, but Russell Martin used the Trophy game against Wycombe on Tuesday as another chance for players to prove themselves to him ahead of their massive game with bottom club Bolton on Saturday.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 11:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 11:12 pm
Russell Martin

Dons had already qualified for the round of 32 as group leaders ahead of kick-off, and Wycombe could not qualify despite their 2-1 win at Stadium MK. Though the result of the game meant nothing on the grand scheme of things, Martin said the night offered more of his squad the chance to play their way into the Bolton game on Saturday - his biggest test since taking over as the helm a little over a week ago.

"Tonight was about trying something else, and looking at the players I haven't seen yet," he said afterwards. "I told them they had the chance to put themselves into the team for Saturday, which is the biggest game of these three.

"It would have been nice to win one, of course, but the focus has always been Saturday. I could have done unchanged tonight, but it was about seeing other people and letting them stake a claim. Now I've got a decision to make with the team on Saturday and how we go about it. The focus has to be on us and how we can hurt teams."

Dons led on 32 minutes through a fine Brennan Dickenson free-kick, only to be pegged back by Nnami Ofoborh's brilliant strike just before the hour. Kieran Agard and Giles Phillips were sent off late in the day, before Josh Parker's terrific volley in stoppage time won it for the Chairboys.

Martin continued: "We scored first, for the first time in a long time and we have to try and hang on to these leads. We created some good chances, there were some good individual performances and players who hadn't played for a while getting 90 minutes.

"I was disappointed in the way we defended in our box. We looked at the way they scored a lot of their goals, and a lot of them are second ball and playing off second phases.

"But there was some good play in there, and on another night we score some more of those.

Brennan Dickenson celebrates his first goal for MK Dons

"We weren't brave enough in the second half. First half, we played well, pressed well, you couldn't fault them in the second half but we didn't move well enough. I want them to be braver, have more courage to play in possession, pass and move. It's a work in progress, it won't happen over night."

Hiram Boateng