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Match Reports

Karl: Returning players the key

21 December 2013

Karl Robinson believes his MK Dons side are beginning to show what they are made of, now that key players are starting to return to full fitness.

.mkstadiumThe Dons recorded back-to-back League victories for the first time this season on Saturday with a terrific 3-0 victory over playoff hopefuls Port Vale at

Irishman Stephen Gleeson put the hosts ahead after just four minutes with his first goal of the season before Ben Reeves added a neat second from the edge of the area.

Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford then struck his 15th of the campaign to make it 3-0 on the half hour and secure an important three points for Robinson and the Dons, who are now just seven points adrift of the playoff places with a game in hand.

After the game, a delighted Robinson said: “As an overall 45 minutes then yes, that was the best first half performance of the season.

“The wonder goal from Stephen Gleeson which set us off was just typical of him. Reevesy (Reeves) showed his quality once again for the second and then we obviously had the all-round team move for Patrick’s customary goal.

“At half-time, I then said to them that I’d take a 0-0 in the second half and they’ve given me that as well. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them today.

“It’s no surprise this run has come when I’ve got players back fit. Stephen’s getting back to full fitness, Ben’s starting to play more consistently and I think Samir Carruthers coming back into the side has given us tremendous quality and work ethic.

“Dale Jennings has been a massive plus for us all too, it’s been good to have Dave back and Pottsy looks like a new man again. I think just having certain people back in certain positions has allowed us to improve.

“We seemed to have turned a corner but I think, now, it’s important we keep our feet firmly on the ground. There’s been years gone by when you’d see me come out and sing from the rooftops after a performance like that but we all know there’s still an awful lot of work still to be done.

“We’ve had a good few weeks - to go to Wolves and win and beat Port Vale on the run they’re on here is impressive – but we’re still a very young group and it’s important we still  keep learning and getting better.”

With the win all-but sealed in the first half, Robinson was able to hand defender Antony Kay, who has been out with a hip injury, his first appearance in just under three months late-on in the second period and the 33-year-old stressed the importance of having the former Barnsley man back in the squad.

He added: “Stephen wasn’t even going to play today because he’s poorly so I saw that as an opportunity to introduce Kaysey in midfield in the second half; he could get his legs back and we could give him more of a challenge. 

“We’ve missed that bit of experience from him and although we’re still without a Daniel Powell, a Luke Chadwick, a Dele Alli and a Dean Bowditch, we’ve got a big, big player back in the team.”

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