No downtime at Aberdeen is hampering Pawlett's recovery

Pawlett hasn't been seen since playing Oxford on September 2
Pawlett hasn't been seen since playing Oxford on September 2

Peter Pawlett is the latest player to be managed back to full fitness in the MK Dons treatment room, but he is nearing a return.

The former Aberdeen man was the first summer signing for Robbie Neilson, confirmed and over the line two months before the end of last season, but fans have only seen three hours and 21 minutes of him so far.

Pawlett signs a fan's Dons shirt

Pawlett signs a fan's Dons shirt

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Pawlett arrived late in the day after Aberdeen's late season finish, but he was already carrying a knock when he left Pittodrie, setting him back. And Neilson believes Aberdeen's hectic schedules down the years have played a part in Pawlett's fitness battle this season.

Neilson explained: "He's had a couple of knocks since he came. He had a knee problem he was managing at Aberdeen, an Achilles problem and recently tendentious.

"I think it's down to the workload over the summer. He's not really had an off-season for a long, long time. At Aberdeen, they've usually run long because of cup finals and then they're straight into the Europa League campaign.

"He's had four or five years without a break. It's a culmination of everything in that sense, and we play an awful lot of games down here and it's a higher intensity."

Peter Pawlett meets the Dons fans

Peter Pawlett meets the Dons fans

Unspotted on the pitch since September 2, Neilson has kept his man in the treatment room, like with Chuks Aneke, to ensure he comes back full prepared for the rigours of League 1 football.

"We made the decision to take him out when we did, and rest him for longer than we've needed to to make sure he's ready," he said. "He's coming along nicely. He won't be available for the Oldham game or the Bristol Rovers game but we're looking possibly the Oxford game (on November 7).

"When he comes back, he'll be a key man for us. He has played a lot of games, he has great pace which will suit our big pitch and he has great quality, carrying the ball and will make a big difference.

"You always miss good players, whether it be a defender, midfielder or an attacker. We want a full squad, but that's the nature of football and everyone has to step up."