Karl Robinson will turn to young defender Tom Flanagan in the wake of Antony Kay’s injury, the Dons manager confirmed this week.
Flanagan, 21, hasn’t started a League game for the Dons since May 2012 having spent the majority of last season out on loan with Barnet and, before that, this weekend’s opponents Gillingham. The 6ft 2in centre-back was awarded a League Two winners medal for his contribution to the Gills’ title winning campaign.
This season, having been handed the number four shirt by Robinson in the summer, Flanagan has yet to force his way into the starting line-up due to the impressive partnership of Kay and Shaun Williams and an ankle injury which kept him out of action for a few weeks earlier this campaign.
However, with Kay now sidelined for up to 12 weeks after undoing hip surgery this past weekend, Dons boss Robinson is ready to call upon Flanagan and is confident the Northern Ireland international will make the most of his opportunity.
Speaking earlier this week, Robinson said: “(Antony Kay) played with his injury for four weeks and he knew he’d have to have an operation on Tuesday. I told him that I felt Tom needed a game before he comes into the first team so he put the operation off until Sunday and played through the pain on Saturday.
“Tom will now have a full weeks training, he played yesterday and then he’ll hopefully be ready for this weekend. While it’s hard to lose Antony, because he’s been tremendous stalwart for us and he’s been one of the players of the season, Tom’s a top, top centre half and I’ve got a really good feeling about welcoming him into the team again.
“I don’t want to bring anybody in (on loan) because I’ve got the perfect replacement in Tom Flanagan. We’re looking forward to having him back in the side and I believe he’ll give the team a real lift.”
While Flanagan may be featuring in the side for the foreseeable future, one player that won’t be after this weekend is winger Danny Green, who will return to parent club Charlton Athletic following the trip to Gillingham on Saturday.
Green has started every game since joining on a month’s loan back in September, impressing many at stadiummk with his performances out on the right-wing. Robinson, therefore, was keen to reserve a special mention for the 25-year-old.
“It is last game, they’re going to recall him back Charlton” he added. “He’s been immense for us and he’s been a tremendous asset. He’s going to give me everything he’s got Saturday and he’s going to give his teammates and this Club everything he’s got.
“If you speak to Danny, he’ll say that we’ve really helped him while he’s been here. As a person, he’s been great to have around the place and his work ethic is there for all to see. Of course I would like to keep him but circumstances just don’t allow that.
“He’s done really well here and I spoke to Chris Powell the other night and told him that, so he’s going to take him back and try and integrate him back into the Charlton team.”
Tickets for this match will be available from the kiosk at thecentre:mk until 7pm on Thursday 3rd October and until 5pm on Friday 4th October from the Box Office at stadiummk.