Karl Robinson believes that youngster Ezri Konsa can fill the gap left by Jason Pearce, who is set to spend 10 weeks out injured.
The experienced centre-back will be unavailable due to a knee injury sustained against Bury on Saturday and that is likely to give Konsa - who has been named in the England U20s squad - his opportunity to come into the side.
“Pearcey is a big blow to us,” the Manager said. “He is a leader, a motivator and is great in the dressing room, so he is a big loss.
“I’m not one to go back in time, though, it is always about what the future can bring and now this is Ez’s chance to show us what he is made of.
“He is one of the best central defenders outside of the top flight. One of the reasons he hasn’t been playing is because he is still learning. Everyone in this building knows that one day he will get to the pinnacle of our game.
“We turned down bids in the summer, we knew that he would be an important person in helping us to achieve what we want to achieve and we knew that there was more development and growth in him too.
“He didn’t play at the start of the season but now his chance has arisen and hopefully he takes it.”