Mark Robinson said he was pleasantly surprised by aspects of Dapo Mebude’s midweek debut.
Our new number 16 had Dons fans signing his name during a swashbuckling display at The Valley, and he could be a very useful attacking weapon at Plough Lane on Saturday.
“Dapo was excellent,” said Robbo. “He was bright, and you only see so much from video footage. Our recruitment team had looked at footage of Dapo and said he was an exciting player, but there were things that I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect him to be coming off the touchline and leaping four foot into the air to win headers! When you get exciting flair players the first thing I look for is what they are going to be like off the ball. He was excellent off the ball and his work-rate was really good. When you see that it builds trust, so that was just as pleasing as the bright play he produced on the ball. His off the ball play was very pleasing.”
In his interview ahead of Bolton, Robbo talked passionately about producing a performance fitting of the occasion – our first league match in front of fans at Plough Lane for 30 years. Our Head Coach is very encouraged by the performance levels shown in both of our victories this season, but he knows that League One new boys Bolton will offer a stern challenge.
“Ian (Evatt) did an incredible job – their results were unbelievable after the start they had,” said Robbo. “They play really good football, and they are very hardworking, and on the front foot. It’s going to be a really tough challenge, but I think it’s great that we’ve got a club like Bolton coming here for this game.
“No disrespect to any club that we could have had, but to play a club that’s so rich in history is absolutely perfect for the monumental game that it is on Saturday. I think it’s so fitting to have an opponent like Bolton Wanderers.”
Asked what has pleased him most about the first two games, both won by narrow margins at Doncaster and Charlton, Robbo said: “We have got to be tough to play against, and we have been so far. In the two games together, the opposition have probably only had two chances – really clear-cut chances. Both performances were probably better than I realised at the time. When I bumped into fans on the way home they were really pleased, and I was thinking, ‘you are bound to be happy because we got three points’, but when I watched the game back there was a lot to be impressed about. It was the same the other night.
“The fact we look organised and structured is key – we’ve got to be like that. If there’s going to be a bit more to come on the ball – and there will be – that will come, but first and foremost we have to be really tough to play against, and really hard to play against.
“It’s more about just looking at what a top Wimbledon performance looks like, and that includes trying to keep clean sheets, and visualising it. You can sit in the dressing room and say, ‘we need a clean sheet mentality’, but what does that mean? What does it actually look like? What are the different elements that build to a clean sheet mentality? If we do concede, we’ve said that we need to get back to that mentality really quickly, so that we don’t concede again. The way we reacted at Doncaster was really pleasing. We got back on the front foot and they never really troubled us after that. We also looked very resilient at Charlton, and we need to retain that characteristic.”
Robbo added that Paul Osew will miss the match versus Bolton Wanderers after he suffered from concussion in the Carabao Cup win at Charlton. Though it’s not serious, it is mandatory that players take time out from contact training after concussion, either for seven days or 10. Apart from Paul, Robbo reported a clean bill of health, and he will have a full squad to choose from for Saturday’s game.