MICHAEL Doughty has been Swindon Town’s best player over the past few weeks due to his willingness to do the ugly side of the game – according to manager Richie Wellens.

The Town boss informed Doughty of his delight over the talented midfielder’s recent work ethic and positioning in particular following last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Exeter City.

The Westminster-born player won several second balls and was highly disciplined alongside Anthony Grant in defensive midfield – keeping counterpart Nicky Law quiet as Town bossed the battle in the centre of the pitch.

Though Swindon have hit a rather inconsistent patch over their last six games, Doughty’s ever-improving performances has been one constant in the eyes of Wellens, who feels the 27-year-old has been entering the field with a perfect mentality.

He said: “Not just the headers, every second ball against Exeter Michael Doughty won.

“I spoke to Michael earlier in the week and I told him I felt he’s been our best player for the past three or four games – he’s been outstanding.

“He’s gone onto the pitch with the mentality of knowing he’s going to do all of the ugly stuff.

“He’s going to win second balls – because some of the conditions we’ve played in recently haven’t been great – and when he’s done that, he’s been great.”

Since Wellens opted for a shift in formation prior to Christmas, Doughty’s role in the team changed slightly from a sole creator to creator-destroyer.

The Welshman has racked up seven assists from his 30 appearances in all competitions – though six of them came prior to Christmas Day.

However, Wellens believes Doughty has been just as effective for the team after working harder on his defensive duties.

He said: “Michael has gone in with that mindset of: ‘I’m going to be in the right position, I’m going to win second balls and I’m going to work really hard’.

“He doesn’t need to work on his natural ability because he’s got that.

“If he goes out there and just says: ‘I’m just going to get on the ball and I’m going to go through the motions’, it’s difficult to switch on defensively.

“Whereas if he goes out with the mindset of doing all the ugly stuff off the ball, then he’ll always be natural when the ball is at his feet anyway because he’s a gifted player.

“He’s been doing that in recent weeks, and I’m really pleased for him at the moment.”