Dean Lewington played in every league game during Dons’ promotion winning campaign last season, but admits he may be required to sit out more often this time around.
The 35-year-old is now into his 17th season at the club and says he loves the game as much as he ever did.
While he has barely been out of the side during his career - a period exiled from the squad under Robbie Neilson’s tenure aside - Lewington found himself on the bench against Lincoln City last week, coming on late in the day to shore up the defence.
With competition for places fierce in Paul Tisdale’s squad this time around, Lewington admitted he may be forced to sit out a few more games than before.
“There’ll be more competition for places this year, I’m a year older and I know there will be more rotation,” he said.
“It might change a slight amount but for me the aim is to be available for every game and cause a selection headache. It’s a case of trying to be better rather than stagnating.
“As you get older, you appreciate things a little bit more and you understand where you are in life.
“Knowing that I won’t have many more to come, each season becomes all the more special. I’m still enjoying it which is the main thing. I’m loving every minute so far.”
With Dons making a mixed start to the season, with two wins and two defeats, Lewington believes expectation needs to be reserved as Dons find their feet in the third tier.
He said: “It is a completely different team to the one that was in League One for a long time, and the side that got relegated from the division a few years ago. The league has also changed as well.
“You’ve got the likes of Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth in the division to it’s a different feel to it. It’s not an excuse but it is what it is.
“Hopefully, we can hit the ground running and carry on the good feeling and positivity that promotion has created because if we want to have any ambition this season, a result matters now just as much as it does towards the end.
“As you climb the leagues, the quality in both boxes increases. The game against Wycombe showed us that.
“You can’t afford to give away as many chances as team will take their opportunities more often at this level, and I think that replicates itself all the way up the leagues.”