It was a job well-done for MK Dons on Tuesday night as they saw off League One opponents Oxford United in the EFL Trophy.
Jack Payne’s 56th minute penalty was enough to beat Liam Manning’s side, and to all but secure a spot in the next round of the competition.
After making ten changes to the side from Saturday’s League Two defeat to Stockport County, assistant head coach Chris Lucketti said the win, a clean sheet and a good performance to boot was all he and head coach Graham Alexander could have asked for.
“It was an outstanding performance from the lads who have not had a lot of game time,” he said. “I said before the game it was a chance to stake their claim, and every player who went on the pitch tonight has given the gaffer a headache.
“We showed a lot of commitment, a lot of energy, a lot of legs in the team and everyone was fighting for every ball, and the majority of it we came out on top of.
“That's testament to the lads who came in, everyone wants to play in this team and that's exactly what we need.”
Payne was one of a number of Dons players making their first starts for the club on Tuesday night - with Joe Tomlinson, Michael Kelly and Ellis Harrison also making their full debuts. The on loan Charlton man has impressed in recent cameos off the bench, but with the strong run-out at the Kassam Stadium for him and the others around him, they are now vying for a starting role, according to Lucketti.
He added: “Jack is a proven performer, we just have to get him up to speed. He' been lacking minutes and some fitness, as have a number of others in the team tonight. But if we can get them up to speed, it gives us some real selection problems.”