Remembering Dons' forgotten man Peter Pawlett

Peter Pawlett
Peter Pawlett

It was set to be a peaceful summer for Peter Pawlett - his deal with MK Dons was wrapped up in March, he'd be moving to England and he would be ready for pre-season with his new club. But it didn't turn out like that.

Picking up an injury in the last few months of his career with Aberdeen, with whom he made more than 200 appearances, Pawlett knew it would be a race against time to get fit again in time for pre-season in Milton Keynes.

Peter Pawlett

Peter Pawlett

His cameo against Wigan almost went under the radar with the nature of the result instead taking precedence, but it was almost a metaphor for his short time at his new club. With his deal sorted early, Pawlett has been something of a forgotten man. Barely playing in pre-season, most fans only had his 28 minutes against the Latics on opening day to judge him on, and against a very good side, he, like his team-mates that day, failed to give any real indication of his ability.

"It was frustrating, of course," he said. "I was itching to get down here and get playing. I could have played with niggles and not been at my best. But we all felt it was important to get fit.

"My contract was running down in Aberdeen and I spoke with the club about it, but I wanted to play in England. I knew the manager from his time at Hearts and I spoke to him on the phone, and he was really positive of everything. He's a manager I thought very highly of, and I wanted to work with him and I'm delighted to be here.

"The physio team have been brilliant. I had a few niggles at the end of last season, but I was in contact with them here straight away when I finished with Aberdeen and they were on the case. Then I picked up another little knock against Wigan.

"But it has been important to get 100 per cent fit. Hopefully all the issues are behind me now and I can play week in, week out."

Fast forward two weeks though, another knock kept Pawlett out of games against Forest Green and Blackpool, but his second appearance made people sit up and take notice. Lively and exciting, Pawlett took on Gillingham's midfield and defence, running at them and bringing the crowd to life each time he touched the ball. It's something Dons have lacked so far this season, and may in fact be an answer to Robbie Neilson's questions so far.

"He was great," said his manager afterwards. "I've known Peter for a long time and I know what he brings to the game.

"The style of football in England suits him. It's open, there are areas for him to break into, and the way he carries the ball excites people. He's had a few injuries so we have ot manage him, but we don't want to cause him any problems.

"He fits into a lot of the roles we're looking to fill at the moment, and so does Chuks (Aneke). We've got options in that area of the pitch. We lacked that little bit of guile, and someone who will break a line for us. We've had to be patient with Peter, as we are being with Chuks and the player we want to bring in."

Pawlett added: "Every player wants to play in England. I wanted to test myself at a new level, I'd played 200 games for Aberdeen, and I felt as though I wanted something different and this was the right step for me.

"I'd say it was my type of game - getting the ball, turning and running at people. I like playing in behind the striker, and out wide - I just like getting a game. My biggest attribute is turning and going at people."

With points now on the board after the 1-0 win over Gillingham on Saturday, Pawlett believes Dons are beginning to gel together, and can show they are capable of fighting for promotion this season.

He said: "It's the aim, it's what we want and what we're trying to do. You want to get up the league and win every game and inevitably promotion comes with that.

"We see it in training - the lads the manager has brought in are really top quality players, as are the guys who were here last season too. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, the manager is building a good side and we're positive for what comes this season."