In-form Puncheon ruled out for Dons

Date published: Sunday 27th December 2009 11:54

Puncheon scored two superb goals in a 4-1 win over Stockport on Boxing Day but also picked up his fifth booking of the season and will now serve a one-match suspension.

Winger Martin Devaney is one option to replace Puncheon should he shake off his nagging hamstring problem and he will be assessed closer to kick-off.

Defender Jude Stirling made a surprise appearance on the bench against Stockport after missing the whole season to date with a groin problem and he could be involved, but Sean O’Hanlon (knee) remains out.

Striker Jabo Ibehre is back from a loan spell with Southend but is suspended as the Dons aim to end Huddersfield’s unbeaten home record.

Assistant manager Karl Robinson said: “We’re going in the right direction and we’re immensely looking forward to Monday’s game at Huddersfield. We can’t wait for it.”

Robinson also believes Dons are back to their best after the thrashing of the rock-bottom Hatters to climb into the play-off places.

Puncheon’s brilliant brace plus goals from Jermaine Easter and Nigel Quashie ensured a 10th successive league defeat for the Hatters, for whom substitute Peter Thompson netted a late consolation.

And Robinson insists the Dons, who lost four games in a row last month to slip out of contention at the top, are now firmly back in the promotion hunt after jumping to fifth.

He said: “We are extremely happy. The performances over the last four games have been really good and we were going to get that kind of result against somebody.

“We’re looking really compact as a unit and we’re hard to break down. Players like Jason Puncheon can always pull something out the bag like that but it was a really strong team performance.

“We’re beginning now to look a dominant team for long periods. Some of the football was fantastic and we cut them open with ease. If we are in the top six at the end of the season that would be a massive success.”

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