It’s all business for Bowditch this Xmas

Dean Bowditch
Dean Bowditch

The Christmas trees are up, you’ve been to Winter Wonderland you’ve even got presents for your dog, but it’s all business over the festive period for Dean Bowditch.

Playing four games in quick succession while most will be gorging on turkey sandwiches and left-over sherry, Christmas has a different meaning for professional footballers.

Dean Bowditch (Milton Keynes Dons) warms up before the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes Dons at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England on 12 September 2015. Photo by George Ledger. PSI-0876-0006

Dean Bowditch (Milton Keynes Dons) warms up before the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes Dons at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England on 12 September 2015. Photo by George Ledger. PSI-0876-0006

“You don’t get much time to enjoy it,” says Bowditch as he tries to get into the festive spirit.

“I go home and hear my wife talking about Christmas. She asks what I want to do on Christmas Day, but I really don’t care - whatever she wants to do!

“I love Christmas and being around my family, but ultimately you’ve got a job to do. That’s how we all see it. It’s relentless.

“It’s great for the fans, but all we’re focussing on is making sure we do the right thing at the right times.

“You don’t get to see and appreciate the lights on the trees, but you’re here training everyday.”

By the time Dons travel up the M1 to take on Leeds, 2015 will be over and done with - one of the most important years in MK Dons’ history and indeed of Bowditch’s career too.

The popular 29-year-old put behind him an injury-riddled 2014 to regain his place in the starting 11.

The year has been kind to him, making 33 appearances so far, netting eight goals along the way, celebrating promotion - a far cry from the sporadic, injury-ridden year he endured in 2014.

He said: “It has been better for everyone. This season has been hard but we all knew it would be.

“The first half of the year was the best I’ve ever been part of.

“Making my debut, getting my first start, scoring my first goal - they were all great memories but to get promoted was a first for me and it was a box I desperately wanted to tick off.

“I was close a couple of times here, and I was close at Ipswich too, but it never happened.

“To do it was great for myself and my family.

“It was difficult coming into a season after promotion because you don’t know how often you’ll get to play, who we were going to bring in.

“As good as it was getting promoted, I wanted to play. So I got my head down and worked hard. I worked my socks off in pre-season.”

Dons perhaps underestimated the demands of Championship life though, with the transition proving much harder to cope with than initially expected.

“It has been tougher than we all thought,” Bowditch admitted. “The chairman has put the stadium and infrastructure in place for us to be at the top level.

“But we are where we are, and we’ve worked hard to get there. Last season wasn’t easy, but we worked hard at that.

“The difficulty has been turned up a few notches at this level, but we’ll be OK, I’m sure of that.

“There are teams in the league that are poorer than us, worse than us. Technically, we’re one of the better teams.

“Some have millions of pounds, and we’re holding our own.

“But we cannot have any more games like we did on Saturday against Brentford.”

And while that game prompted manager Karl Robinson to say his side would get relegated with more performances like that, Bowditch has his eyes set on a Christmas present to help himself, his team-mates and the club get out of danger.

“The only thing I want is the nine or 12 points that are on offer! Getting as many points as possible.”