January move made it tough for Smith to break into Dons’ team

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“I’d love to get a run in the team and I feel I can develop at both ends of the pitch”

The timing of Matt Smith’s move to MK Dons may have worked against him getting more game time at Stadium MK last season.

Like Dan Kemp, who spoke to the Citizen last week, Smith arrived on transer deadline day in January and struggled to get into the Dons fold, making just four appearances.

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While the side found their groove and pressed on into the automatic promotion battle, Smith found opportunities harder to come by in a fiercely competitive central midfield area of the park.

Returning to pre-season training earlier this month after a successful spell on international duty with Wales, Smith admitted he had to stay patient last season when his game-time dried up, knowing pre-season would be his best opportunity to make an impact.

“It's tough to move in January and come into a team that is playing well,” Smith said. “I understood I needed to keep pushing, and I knew I had to come into this pre-season pushing. Everyone starts with a clean slate.

“I didn't get on as often as I wanted but when I did, I did well. I want to bring more of that, I want to help the team in the new season.”

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“I'd love to get a run in the team and I feel I can develop at both ends of the pitch. I can add goals and assists to my game, but I also want to help the team keep clean sheets and I feel I can help doing both.”

First team coach David Wright praised Smith’s patience last term, admitting the timing of his move to Stadium MK made it harder for him to get a shot as holding down a regular spot.

“It was a difficult time for him coming into the club,” said Wright. “He wanted to get going and play every game. It's difficult for someone on the fringes but he's gone away and had a really good summer on international duty, and he's in a really good place.

“You can see he's really hungry. A good pre-season for him will see him bounce right into the new one.”

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