“Words can’t describe it,” said Dean Bowditch as he looked back on another frustrating pre-season campaign.
After a summer of rest and recuperation, Bowditch returned to training with his team-mates but went down in the second session with a calf problem - an injury which would rule him out of the season’s opening fixtures.
The carrot of the season was dangling for Ben Reeves too before it was cruelly pulled away at the last possible moment, hobbling out of Dons’ friendly with Everton a little over a week before opening day.
Both players are prone to knocks and niggles - Reeves only played 22 times last season - but with every spell on the sidelines, the frustration grows.
Reeves said: “Every time, it gets worse and worse to be honest. I can’t tell you why it happens. I do everything I can to stay fit off the pitch, and then when I get injured, I do everything I can to stay fit.
“I’m doing so much behind the scenes to stay fit, seeing specialists, I go and see the physio every day, I’ve got programmes to stick to. I just hope it comes to plan, everything comes together and I can stay fit.”
Missing the intensive fitness work of a pre-season campaign has left the duo playing catch-up, especially given the tough nature of playing Saturday and Tuesday throughout August.
But with both finding the back of the net in recent EFL Cup and EFL Trophy run outs, Bowditch can see light at the end of the tunnel.
He said: “I’m still playing catch up and that makes it really hard because the games are really important now. It’s hard to get your fitness up when you’re only playing 15, 20 minutes.
“But I feel like I’m getting there, I just need to get my sharpness back and score some goals.”