He may have been spotted more often in the press box than the penalty box this season, but Scott Wootton is counting down the days until he can get back to playing football again.
The 25-year-old made just four appearances for Dons after signing from Leeds last summer before suffering a cruciate ligament injury in August, ruling him out for the rest of the campaign.
After surgery and months of rehab in the Dons treatment room, it has been baby steps for Wootton, learning to walk before he can run again - almost literally - on the path back to full fitness.
“You have to stay mentally tough, you’ve got no other choice,” the defender told Red Dot Magazine. “There’s no point sulking or crying because that’s not going to help.
“I got my head around the fact I’d be out for a long time quite early on, and I think the earlier you can do that, the more you can focus on your recovery.
“I’m progressing well in the gym and I’m really pushing my body more than ever.
“I think it’ll put me in a position where I’m in the best shape. You don’t really get the time when you’re playing to really focus on getting stronger and more powerful.”
In what has been a tumultuous season on and off the field at Stadium MK, Wootton is yet to play or even train under manager Robbie Neilson, who took over in December.
However, Neilson has been in regular contact with his injured defender, making sure he remains part of the fold.
Wootton said: “He has been great with me. He had a long term injury and we’ve spoken about that.
“He’ll come in and see me when I’m in the gym, and he has kept me involved.
“He’s been fantastic. He’s hit the right balance of being the right balance of being a manager you don’t want to cross but also one that you can go to if you need something.”
While he initially hoped he could get back to fitness before the season was over, Wootton will continue to train over the off-season to ensure he’s back and ready for the first day of pre-season training.
He added: “I’m going to have a little break just before the end of the season because I will be in over May and June.
“I want to make sure everything is 100 per cent right for next season. “Hopefully I can join up with the team for day one of pre-season training.”
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