MK Dons manager Robbie Neilson has confirmed long-standing full-back Dean Lewington is set to leave the club in January on loan.

The Dons boss confirmed the news when speaking to the media after the Dons beat Maidstone United in the FA Cup.

Neilson said he held a recent discussion with Lewington and that the full-back was looking to play more after losing his first-team spot to new signing Scott Golbourne, so he would be heading out on loan in January before further discussions in the summer.

He said, “Dean has been here for a very long time. We had a chat at the start of the season about his game-time and what I felt it would be. Dean feels he can still play week-in, week-out, and I didn’t think he could do that at the moment.

“We’ve got Scott Golbourne, who’s been playing very well, and we’d like to move things forward and freshen the team up. So Dean’s decided he wants to go on loan in January, which we support and I understand. You get to the age Dean has and no matter how many game’s he’s played, you want to finish your career playing week in and week out.

“We’ll look into the option in the January window, and we’ll be as supportive as we can. He signed a two year contract in the summer with the idea he would play and coach, but he feels he just wants to play. I can understand that, so hopefully he goes and plays football, and then we’ll have a chat in the summer.”

In terms of the tie itself, the Dons had to come from behind at half-time to take the Third Round spot after Maidstone struck in the first half. But the Dons boss said his team refused to panic, and duly reaped the rewards of their preferred approach.

He said, “It was a proper FA Cup game. They’re always difficult. It was a Cup Final day out for the opposition coming here, and they made it difficult for us in the first half. I think we created a number of chances in the first half, but we didn’t take them and that always gives them an opportunity to get the goal, which they did from a set-play knock-down and rebound.

“We showed good strength of character. Its very easy in these games to start panicking and crumble, but we didn’t. We spoke at half-time, then came out and played our game, got two goals, and from there were very comfortable.”

The result booked the Dons’ spot in Monday’s Third Round draw. Offering his thoughts, Neilson said they were hopeful of either landing a big name or a winnable tie, but underlined the main desire to play at stadium:mk.

He said, “Its probably one or the other, but we want a home draw first and foremost. Then we want either a home draw that we are pretty confident we’d get through, or a home draw against one of the big teams. We want to try and get a big team eventually, even if it means going through another round to get one, as we’d get a bit of a build up for a big game and it’d be fantastic.”

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