George Baldock believes it is now or never if his football career is to thrive at MK Dons.
The popular defender has returned from a year-long loan spell with Oxford United and immediately slotted in at right back, helping Dons to pick up five crucial points from the last three games, including two clean sheets.
Now 22 and in the prime of his career, Baldock knows he cannot afford to miss out on the chance to be Dons’ first choice full back and is desperate to take the opportunity with both hands.
“This is my time now, to knuckle down and work hard. Playing in the Championship is only going to improve me, and my aim is to help MK go on.
“Something is going wrong if I need to go out on loan again.
“When I came back, I did wonder whether I was going to even play.
“I knew Oxford were going to Wembley, I thought they’d got a good chance of getting promoted. But if it’s a case of playing at Wembley, promotion and getting in League 2 Team of the Year, I would’ve traded it all to become a Championship player.”
Returning early from his stint at the Kassam Stadium, Baldock, a Dons player since he was 10-years-old, admitted he felt like the new boy on the playground ahead of his first training session back in Milton Keynes.
But with an influx of young players to Karl Robinson’s squad, Baldock admitted it didn’t take him long to slot back in.
He said: “Because I’ve been away for so long, my first day back was like I was the new boy! I’ve been here 12 years! It felt so surreal.
“But all the staff are the same, and the group of lads are great. There are so many lads my age now, so we’re always together, doing things after training. It’s quality. We’ve all got the same interests. And because we’re getting good results, we’re all on a high.
“But the gaffer has been brilliant to keep us level headed. Hopefully we can see it over the line now.”