Johnson and Ibehre need to prove their worth

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Paul Ince says he's sent Jemal Johnson and Jabo Ibehre to Stockport to give them a chance of a long term future with Dons.

Winger Johnson and striker Ibehre have barely featured in the last few months and have joined the League One crisis club until the end of the season.

The pair are joined at Edgeley Park by Danny Swailes and Richie Partridge, who have both moved to the cash-strapped club permanently.

Ince insists Johnson and Ibehre's fate is very much in their own hands though. He believes they can both still have futures at stadium:mk, but only if their performances in the north west catch his eye.

"I do want them back, it's important for me that when I do want to make decisions on players they need to be playing. I can't judge my players if they are sitting on the bench," he said.

"If I want to move forward and bring in better players they need to show me what they can do and they can't do that by just sitting on the bench - and I told them that.

"Come the end of this season I want to know whether they are good enough and in my plans for next season and the one after that.

"And if they go to Stockport and do the business it gives me food for thought and that's the reason they've gone out on loan."

All four played in Stockport's 1-0 loss to Swindon on Tuesday night,

It was the Hatters' 12th straight League One defeat. But Johnson and Ibehre, both playing up front, caused Danny Wilson's high-flying Robins some problems, forcing David Lucas into several saves.

Partridge was said to have looked lively before Billy Paynter's second-half penalty, while Ince said the harsh reality of chasing promotion meant he had to be tough and let the Irish winger and Swailes go.

Centre back Swailes sadly never seemed to recover from his achilles injury and Ince feared neither would fit into his long term plans as Dons target the Championship.

He said: "It's always hard. They are good players who've done a fantastic job for us.

"But as I have said we are moving on and going through a transitional period and we want to start building for the future.

"It's hard for them because the team has done so well while they have been stuck on the bench and they need to go out and play games.

"To be fair we did Stockport a favour as they're struggling at the bottom of the pile and hopefully with those four going now it might give them a chance to get out of the mess they are in at the moment."

Assistant boss Karl Robinson praised the impact Partridge has made this season and said it was a move that benefits the player and the club.

"In the time he spent here he never let us down," said Robinson. "He scored against Oldham, played well in other games such as against Tranmere, and from that point of view his time here was a success in the short term.

"But we're about building for the ultimate goal that is the Premier League and we've got to bring players in who are going to be a part of this legacy. We're trying to create something special.

"Richie was brilliant in his time here and now he's going to play for Gary Ablett who he knows from his time at Liverpool. It's up north and close to his family so it was the right decision for him."

And County manager Ablett has thanked Dons for allowing the on-loan duo to join, saying: "Dons have been fantastic in paying money towards wages to Jemal and Jabo at a time when we can't afford much and it's tough bringing players in."

Cautious Dons plotting two more additions

Boss Ince has revealed he is still looking to bring in two extra players in January but will not be rushed into any signings.

Ince has been busy in the last few weeks, bringing in Andros Townsend and Mark Randall from Tottenham and Arsenal respectively.

A quartet of players also left for Stockport, with Jemal Johnson and Jabo Ibehre sent to join Stockport County on loan as Danny Swailes and Richie Partridge moved to the north west permanently. Ince said his business might not be done yet though.

He said: We never actually stop looking and searching to impove the side.

"January is always a tricky time as you don't want to rush into things and sometimes people press the panic button and it's not always the right way.

"Sometimes you just need to wait until the end of the season, and get your proper targets and long term deals done then."

While delighted to bring in Townsend and Randall, Ince admitted that loan deals are not always ideal. But in this instance the talented Premier League duo were too hard to resist.

"I don't often like taking in loanees as eventually I want an 18-20 man squad who will be here for the next two and a half years to take the club forward.

"But when you've got that quality of player it's hard to turn them down and you saw when they came on against Hartlepool on Saturday what they gave to the side.

"They are young kids, only 18-19 and for me they are at the best place, education wise and football wise.

"And it's great that Arsene and Harry feel that they can come to this place because of the way we play our football and that can only be good for MIlton Keynes as a city that we can attract Spurs players and Arsenal players to come and play here."

For midfielder Randall his signing for Dons is a homecoming. He was born in the city and used to play for City Colts before hitting the big time with the north London club. And Ince said it's great to have another local Milton Keynes lad involved with the club.

"There were various other clubs after him, but he was desperate to come here and it's just good for us that we can attract this sort of player to the club.

"He and Sam Baldock have seemed to click already and they are like brothers all of a sudden, they don't leave each other alone."