Being the back-up is one of the hardest jobs in football

Wieger Sietsma played back-up to Lee Nicholls last season
Wieger Sietsma played back-up to Lee Nicholls last season

Being a back-up goalkeeper is one of the hardest jobs in football, according to Lee Nicholls.

The keeper has been Dons’ first choice for 18 months, but knows how difficult it can be for the secondary stopper waiting in the wings.

This season, Dons used Stuart Moore in the Checkatrade Trophy, and released third choice Wieger Sietsma last week after the Dutchman dropped down the pecking order in the summer.

“It’s a really hard job,” said Nicholls, who spent the first eight months at Stadium MK as back-up to David Martin.

“When Wieger was here, I helped him as much as I could, I got really close with him, and the same with Stu. You have to be patient until you get your chance.

“There’s always a chance I get injured, Stu comes in and does well and keeps the place. If that happens, I’d have no problem sitting on the bench until I got another opportunity.”

Stuart Moore

Stuart Moore

Nicholls admitted stepping up to being Dons; number one ‘felt weird’ (see page 68) as he took over between the sticks last season.

The change in roles also meant a change in mentality for the keeper, with no time to let his standards drop at any stange ahead of a game.

He added: “As a number two, especially when you’ve done it for a while, you lose the game feeling, the build up to games.

“But when you’re number one, everything is about Saturday. That’s the hardest part of being a number two, especially if you’re called upon.”