‘I wouldn’t hand in a transfer request’ says Dons skipper Lewie

Dean Lewington in pre-season training. Pic: Jane Russell
Dean Lewington in pre-season training. Pic: Jane Russell

Dean Lewington admitted there have been plenty of opportunities to leave MK Dons in the last 10 years, but he has never wanted to leave.

The 30-year-old will play in his testimonial against Nottingham Forest on Sunday - another in a line of recent landmarks for the skipper.

Dean Lewington. Pic: Tom Blackman

Dean Lewington. Pic: Tom Blackman

In April, Lewington celebrated his 500th game for Dons, though it may never have happened.

Over the years, there have been an abundance of chances for Lewington to test himself away from stadium:mk.

He said: “Down the years, almost every season in the summer.

“There’s been opportunities, but it was never right for me or the club.

“I’ve always been very happy here, so I wouldn’t hand in a transfer request or kick up a fuss, and I’ve been very lucky that they’ve wanted me here.”

In fact, Lewington wasn’t sure he’d even make it a fifth of the way he has when he first started out.

“Stuart Murdoch always said that you’re not a real footballer until you’ve played 100 games,” Lewington said. “I used to be really nervous that I’d never make it!

“It’s a bit strange, in the last three months, with milestone after milestone.

“I’m looking forward to getting the testimonial out of the way and getting back to normal!”

And back to normal means back to the grind of preparations for his ninth League 1 season.

And it is shaping up to be the most important one yet, not just for the players, but as Lewington explains, also the fans.

“I’ve noticed when I’ve been out and about talking to people, they’ve all said ‘this is it, we’ve got to go up now’ and I think there’s that feeling that the club has settled.

“We’ve had ups and downs and now people are ready for the next step.

“Everyone is now looking to move the club on another step, and we’re aiming to do that.”

That’s hardly unusual though, after everyone left the last campaign disappointed with a 10th place finish.

While there has been a bit of a clear-out of Karl Robinson’s squad this summer, there have been some promising new faces added to the ranks.

Far from shouting from the rooftops their ambitions, though Dons have opted again to keep their aims for the season in-house.

Lewington though is quietly confident of Dons’ chances of reaching the play-offs next season.

He said: “Internally, we’ve had a chat about what we want to do, but the gaffer wants to keep that in the camp.

“We know we have to improve on last season, and that’s the first objective.

“We’re trying to do that, but we’ve lost a lot of key players and we have to rebuild a bit and start again, but we feel we’ve got a shot.

“The problem is that this is a very competitive league, and there are some considerably bigger budgets out there. And that makes it very difficult.

“We feel we have the experience now and some very talented young players.”