Rotation policy has helped Bowditch stay fit

Dean Bowditch PNL-150321-193033002
Dean Bowditch PNL-150321-193033002

Karl Robinson’s rotation system has a fan in Dean Bowditch, even if it means he doesn’t start every game.

The 28-year-old has played a huge part in Dons’ recent resurgence, setting up Will Grigg to score at Walsall and against Notts County, while opening the scoring against Oldham in midweek.

The last two seasons have been stop-start for Bowditch as injuries have made him more familiar with the treatment room than the football pitch.

However, with Robinson regularly rotating the front four, Bowditch feels he is being given more time to recuperate and ensure that when he does play, he can perform to the best of his abilities.

“I’m a massive believer in it,” said Bowditch after the Notts County game. “When you look at my past, I’ve suffered injuries having to play, and the gaffer has relied on me and it has been hard for me to keep going.

“For the manager to be able to tell me I’m only playing 60 minutes, or 30 minutes from the bench is great. It keeps us fresh for the rest of the season. If you’re having a blinder, he won’t take you off, but at least you know when you’re playing. He’s keeping us fresh and on our toes. I’m a big believer in it.

“I came off the other day (against Oldham), but it was precautionary. It was something I felt a few years ago, and I didn’t want to replicate that.

“I made the decision to come off. The backroom staff respect me, because I’ve played a lot of games now, and they know if I want to come off because I’m struggling, they believe it.”

Bowditch’s recent purple patch has also coincided with Dons’ resurgence. Having lost three in a row, Dons have picked up seven points out of nine in the last seven days, reinvigorating their push for an automatic promotion spot.

And after playing a big part in all three games, Bowditch is delighted to be contributing in a positive way.

He said: “The season has been up and down. I’ve had some really good performance and some really poor ones.

“I’ve had a sit down with the staff, and with myself, talking to myself to an extent, saying I need to pull my finger out now, because I’m of an age where I need to start delivering.

“In the last few games I feel I’ve contributed and if I can keep doing that for the rest of the season, that’s great for everyone. It was good to be scoring, and I need to be more selfish at times, but as long as I’m contributing with goals or assists then I’m more than happy.”

Coming on as a second half substitute with Will Grigg on Saturday with the score at 0-0, Dons went on to comfortably win 4-1 against the Magpies.

After Carl Baker’s opener, Lewis Baker raced clear with Bowditch in support. But rather than pass to him, Bowditch watched on as the on-loan Chelsea man lobbed keeper Roy Carroll to make it 2-0.

And Bowditch admitted Lewis Baker would’ve been facing repercussions had he spurned his chance in front of goal.

“He wouldn’t be able to talk!” he joked. “I trotted over with the ball in my hands, and said ‘if you didn’t score that mate, you were dead!’

“It was a great goal, and fans love watching little dinks like that. He only scores good goals, but the looks of it.

“I was in a great position to score but maybe I need that selfish streak in me too.”

Bowditch then went on to tee up Grigg to score the first of his late brace. After great work on the left to get to the byline, Bowditch admitted he fired the ball into the box without actually seeing Grigg perfectly positioned in the centre.

He said: “I did well to get to the byline, and cut it back but I didn’t see him in the box. Fortunately it went right to him! I was quite pleased with that!

“It’s good to have a combination with him and hopefully we’ll continue that, and hopefully he’ll put one on the plate for me!”

While Swindon weren’t in action on Saturday, Preston dropped points to Barnsley as they drew 1-1 at Oakwell.

But even though the gap to second is now just four points with eight games remaining, Bowditch said Dons only have eyes on their own results.

He said: “We’re just concentrating on ourselves at the moment. The last three games have been a hell of a lot better.

“I don’t want to copy what the gaffer has been saying, but it’s all about confidence. We were in a bit of a rut, but we’ve turned a corner.

“There’s an energy about us again. We’ve got that back in our game.”