Revitalised Dons already look a different beast under Neilson
Three games, two wins - one over the noisy rivals, the other over the former boss and both in front of his new fan base: the Robbie Neilson revolution is well underway at MK Dons.
Not even two weeks into his tenure at the club, Stadium MK feels like a different world compared to the way it did a month ago.
Then still without a manager, scraping by while dipping their toes into the relegation zone, Dons have since transgressed back to a side with a plan, with an aim and vitally, with a threat.
Skipper Dean Lewington has led by example playing out of position, Dean Bowditch, already Dons’ leading scorer, added two in two at home this week, while a fit again Ben Reeves and a determined Darren Potter have stood head-and-shoulders above in the attacking third.
Gone, seemingly, is the animosity to go long, taking with it the look of defensive fragility. The relatively simple notion of clearing your lines couldn’t have been more of a welcome addition to the Dons arsenal after a year of faffery at the back.
The high intensity pressing from the front was the undoing of AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, smothering them from the back and preventing them from getting anything from their afternoon.
Against Charlton, the intensity was lower, but Neilson’s demand for more will inevitably see his players grow used to his expectations - bear in mind he has left a Hearts side vying for a Europa League spot.
Looking threatening going forward once more, Dons have been creating chances, taking pot-shots and forcing saves. The quick passing, fluid movements and use of width is still a huge factor in what they do - they’ll still need an end-product though, but Neilson is more than aware of what tops his January shopping list.
Even without the subtle nuances of his changes implemented after 10 or so days in charge, Neilson’s first two victories have given fans a new sense of belief too.
As if seeing off AFC wasn’t enough, winning Dons’ first league match at Stadium MK since March ended the home hoodoo hanging over MK1.
And then getting one over the old boss and heading into the third round of the FA Cup was the icing on the cake for a fine three days for Neilson. The harbingers of doom might just have to re-evaluate.