WHAT a 2011 Daniel Powell is having.
Since being recalled from Blue Square Premier outfit Darlington in November, the 20-year-old has established himself as one of the first names on Karl Robinson’s team sheet.
Powell has scored eight goals since his return, including vital match winners in games against Hartlepool, Bristol Rovers and Brighton, as Dons have flown up the League One table and into contention for automatic promotion.
“Ever since coming back from Darlington it has been amazing,” he said. “Since Christmas, everything has seemed to go to plan. I’ve been working hard all year and now I’m getting the rewards for it.
“John Gorman has worked hard with me, as has the gaffer, and the loan spells in the last two seasons have helped as well.
“I’ve been in and out of first teams, but it has given me some good experience. It just seems everything has fallen right for me here. With people like Jermaine Easter leaving the club I have been given a bit more of a chance. And I’ve been lucky to hit a bit of form along the way.”
His goals have even seen him top the Dons scoring list for a week before Sam Baldock’s return and hat-trick against Colchester bumped him back down the order.
“I didn’t ever think that would happen,” said Powell. “But then the following week Sam scored a hat-trick and knocked me back down again!
“We do joke about it - I even set him up when he pulled level with me. I’ve always been a passionate player, and I have always loved scoring goals.
“I think playing on the wing restricts my chances to score, but I can still get forward. I get on the ball a lot, but it’s a lot more running! But playing week in, week out, you get used to it.”
Powell came up through the academy with Baldock and Adam Chicksen - all of whom have been playing in the first team this season.
“It’s good that the youngsters are all coming through at the moment,” Powell said. “We all have a lot in common, and we‘re all doing well.”
His performances on the pitch have been rewarded with a two year contract extension, which he signed last week, keeping him at the club until 2013. And Powell, who has been at the club since he was just 14, is delighted to remain at Dons and wants to establish himself in the first team for years to come.
“Signing the contract was a weight off my shoulders, I can relax a bit more now and hopefully I’ll keep playing well very,” he said. “It’s a good club we’ve got here and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”