Russell Martin says MK Dons have benefited greatly from Tuesday’s Central League clash with Southend United.
An experienced side beat the Shrimpers 3-1 at Stadium MK, with Sam Nombe and Brennan Dickenson grabbing the goals and striker Rhys Healey getting 45 minutes in the bank after three months on the sidelines.
There were a number of other solid performances, and Martin believes the Dons will reap the rewards from the run out.
“It was a really good exercise for us,” Martin said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash with Gillingham at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
“Obviously Sam and Rhys played 45 minutes each. Sam scored and played really well. Rhys has still got a bit of catching up to do in terms of his fitness but I’m really pleased with both of them. They’re working extremely hard and now it’s about getting them back on the pitch.
“It was good for us to also see the guys who haven't played so much recently, to see them doing what we're asking of them and playing to our principles. The players did themselves a real justice with the way that they've played.
“We’re trying to get the best out of all our players. We’re give everyone a chance and as they find clarity in what we’re trying to do, they've got a chance to show what they can do and stake a claim for a place in the team.
“Baily [Cargill] and George [Williams] both played well. George was fantastic, and I was proud with the way in which he led the younger players. David [Kasumu] and Brennan Dickenson were excellent too - the best I've seen Brennan so far.
“It was good to see that everyone is ready to play. The lads who have been playing for the last three games have earned the right to be there but there is real competition for places now and the lads who are playing in the first team at the moment will know that.
“We’re going to need everyone over Christmas period. Tuesday has given me great confidence in the squad the knowledge that if needed, people are ready to step in and take the place. That’s a healthy thing for a manager when you're fighting to move up the table.”
One player who didn’t feature on Tuesday, and has been sidelined since mid-November, is defender Jordan Moore-Taylor. Martin provided a positive update on his central defender.
“We’ve had his knee checked out and it looks fine, which is a real boost for us and for Jordan.
“We still have to manage him. He played a lot of games so soon after coming back from a long-term injury. We need to manage him and make sure that he's ready and available for the long term, rather than just for a couple of games over Christmas.”
Russell Martin's MK Dons will look to stretch their unbeaten run to four games when they take on Gillingham at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium this Saturday, kick-off 1pm.
Tickets are available in covered or uncovered seating areas, with prices from £20 adults, £16 seniors and £6 students/under-18s, while under-12s go FREE. Ticket prices will increase by £2 on the day of the game.
Official Away Travel is available for this fixture, with coach spaces priced at £19 Season Ticket holders and £20 all other supporters. Coaches will depart Stadium MK at 9am.
To book tickets/travel click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343.