Assistant Manager Matt Oakley has applauded the MK Dons squad for the grit and resilience they showed to earn promotion out of Sky Bet League Two at the first time of asking.
Oakley entered a dressing room that had suffered three managerial changes and relegation in 12-months prior to his appointment.
However, Oakley has praised the hardworking nature of the squad to turn the Club’s fortunes around to come through adversity this season and secure promotion on the final day of the season.
“This team have had to put up with so much,” Oakley told iFollow MK Dons. “They’ve had to deal with a change of manager, a pre-season that was messed about with potential players leaving and players joining, then no one leaving and us having a massive squad.
“We then found a rhythm, where we were winning almost every week, to then getting injuries to our whole back line. We then had to take them injuries through the Christmas period where we had no rhythm or style and had to adjust what we were doing.
“We got to the low point of the game before Newport as we’d fallen out of the playoffs, and we decided we needed a reboot. It was just a change of everything really, at that point, you then saw how the team had come together – it was quite incredible.
“We had a five, six game run with straight wins and got right back into the promotion picture. They’ve had a lot to deal with this season and I think we are in a really strong position going into next season.”
The Dons headed to Rodney Parade in early February having lost seven of their previous 11 fixtures. A win against The Exiles would’ve put Paul Tisdale’s side back in the play-off picture, anything else would’ve left their promotion hopes damaged.
A late Chuks Aneke goal earned the Dons all three points, Oakley believes the result that night, and performance, was a real turning point.
“We were due to play Newport when we were in form and I remember It getting called off – we were flying - we went back there when they were in form and we weren’t.
“That was a tough game, we had a lot of very good individual performances and that really got us back on track. It gave us the belief to bounce back into that top three of four for the rest of the season – it was a big, big turning point that game.”