Frustration is the common feeling among footballers when it comes to spending time on the sidelines, but it was a different range of emotions for Mathieu Baudry.
Signing for Dons in the summer, the Frenchman arrived injured for the start of the season meaning his first appearance in the fourth game of the season. But his seven minute cameo was one to forget - sent off in the closing stages at Crewe on August 18.
But while suspended, more injury problems reared their head and he wasn’t seen again in a Dons shirt until December 29 when he was a shock inclusion in the starting line-up to face Northampton at Sixfields.
Often seen smiling around his team-mates though, Baudry admitted it was all for show.
“It has been a tough time, personally,” he said. “It has been one of the hardest times in my career, not only for me but my family too.
“We had a lot of doubts, and it’s not easy to start like that. I was delighted to be out there – it was emotional.
“Tis has been unbelievable with me, and that’s what has made it harder for me – I felt embarrassed, worthless. It’s hard. You have to put your ego to the side, it’s hard to take.
“You’re around here, you pretend to be alright but you go home and you’re not alright. It has been tough on me, my wife and my little one. You keep working, hope it gets better and today was a result of that for everyone. I love the boys here.
“It’s funny, after my first game at Crewe, a lot of people write you off, and that’s normal. But I know what I can do and I’ll work hard to get back to my best and show it.
“It has been a good few days for me.”
Despite the disappointment of the 2-2 draw at Northampton, Baudry was one of the stand-out performers, and he backed it up with a second start on New Year’s Day, and a clean-sheet against Cambridge in front of one very important person.
He continued: “It was great, my little man was here and he hasn’t seen me play a lot recently – I was glad to see him and we came away with a clean sheet, so happy days.
“I think I did alright – I’m way off where I want to be. I didn’t expect to start and hadn’t been training a lot, I’ve not even played in a reserve game. I’m way off and I can do a lot better.
“I missed a lot of time with Tis and the coaching staff, but I’m listening and I’ve tried to take in as much as I can as quick as I can.
“Fitness-wise, I’m catching up, so I’ve had to play a lot with my head.
“Tis and the staff are relentless – you can’t switch off! Sometimes it’s hardest being a defender, you have to stay focused and do the right things, don’t get carried away or complacent!”