Lack of hold-up play is hurting Dons says Neilson

Dons' biggest problem is the lack of a hold-up man according to boss Robbie Neilson, but he believes Chuks Aneke is the key in that position.

Monday, 16th October 2017, 11:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:11 pm
Osman Sow

Aneke has been out of action since February with hamstring trouble, but is being tentatively introduced to the first team again after six months out. But while he is still unable to play 90 minutes, Dons are missing a key man to link the midfield and attacks.

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"The issue isn't the number 10 area, but when it was going to the striker, it wasn't being held up," Neilson admitted. "It's a key part of the game and a platform that allows us to build. The key is that link, and Chuks gives us that massive link.

Robbie Neilson believes Chuks Aneke will be key

"We spoke to the strikers on Sunday about it because it's so vital. We can't afford to build through the defence and midfield only to lose it when it gets to the attack. We lose total momentum and that's what happened on Saturday. Eventually, the midfield loses confidence to support that.

"To be fair to him, Osman has been great since he came in but it was difficult for him on Saturday but it happens in football and I'm sure he'll be better next time."

Defeat on Saturday didn't change the landscape much for Dons as they remained 14th in League 1, but victory saw Portsmouth, who started the day level on points with Neilson's side, climb to seventh and a point outside the play-off spots.

And it is a case of 'what might have been' for Neilson.

Robbie Neilson believes Chuks Aneke will be key

He said: "We were disappointed with the way things went on Saturday, but the way things are in this league, you need to move on very quickly. We've got a big game on Tuesday night, we have to get a win and carry on.

"We had a great run of form, and then a difficult week. We have to get back to the good play and good form. Defensively, we were down to 10 men against Bradford, and the goals we conceded against Portsmouth were poor but they were individual errors which I wouldn't expect to be repeated.

"We knew before a win would've taken us close. This week is key for us because we could have been in that mix. But we've still got six points to play for.

"It's still extremely tight - two or three wins gets you into the play-offs, two or three defeats and you can be in trouble. It's about consistency, for us."