Dean Bowditch is keen to put the injury frustrations of last season behind him and help Dons win the League 1 title.
Dons’ top scorer just two years ago, Bowditch has scored just four times in the subsequent 18 months as injury crippled his progress last campaign as he mustered just 13 appearances.
This season has been far more routine for the 28-year-old in terms of fitness, but Karl Robinson’s top four rotation policy has been Bowditch in and out of the team, playing in all of the attacking roles in Dons’ regular formation.
But after scoring in his first appearance leading the line for the club this season, Bowditch hopes he can be a key part of the team battling it out for the crown.
“This season has been up and down, varied and I’ve played in different positions,” he said. “It has been difficult at times. After last year, I had a good pre-season, but in terms of competitive football, it took me a long time to get used to it. It was a strange feeling.
“I’ve been in and out of the team, but the gaffer told us that’s what he would be doing. We’ve got a lot of talent in the top four positions, I’ve been happy to be on the pitch. Last year was very frustrating for me, and this year has been a lot better, in terms of getting on the pitch.
“It has been frustrating, goals-wise as well. I’ve only got three which is disappointing on my part. But some of the chances, and I don’t want to make excuses, but some of the saves have been incredible! I could have had 10 or 12 this season. I’ll keep working, and trying my best.
“Maybe I’ve tried too hard in those positions. Now we’re at the business end, and if I can help get us over the line, then great.”
Bowditch came to stadium:mk in the summer of 2009 after a terrific spell at Yeovil, where he ended top scorer Huish Park.
Having suffered a disappointing play-off campaign with Dons in his first season, as they were knocked out by Huddersfield Town, two seasons of indifference followed, with the club missing out on a top six finish.
Dons hit top spot in League 1 for the first time in over two years on Saturday though, albeit for 24 hours, as this Saturday’s opponents Bristol City played their game in hand a day later to take over at the summit
And even though it was only for a short while, Bowditch said seeing Dons’ name at the top of the pile has whetted the appetites of the players.
“Of course it did,” he said. “We want to kick on from now. It felt good to be up there, but we’ve got great competition to go up against it.
“We’re so close, we’re right up there. We’ve shown we can maintain the quality and win games convincingly.
“We want to win the league. From the start, we just said we’d go about our business, but it’s ingrained into us that we are winners, and that we are good enough.
“This is the best squad I’ve been part of in terms of depth. We’ve got great players from the starting 11, right through the bench.
“In past years, when we’ve had injuries,we’ve dipped. But this year, we’ve continued the run. This year, there’s something slightly different, and that’s down to the squad.
“In my first year, we were unlucky in the play-offs, but we’ve been neither here nor there since. This year, the squad has been fantastic and we’ve got a really good chance as long as we keep on it.”