Nicholls' mistakes were "costing Dons points and wins"
Lee Nicholls said it was difficult to take after he was dropped as MK Dons' number one last month.
After a string of errors saw Dons drop out of the play-off spots, Nicholls was replaced in goal by Stuart Moore as Dons turned their fortunes around, climbing back into the automatic promotion spots. Defeat at Morecambe - the only defeat on Moore's card - allowed Nicholls back into the fold and on Saturday, the 26-year-old could make his 100th MK Dons appearance.
Missing out on those six games though came as a wake-up call to the keeper, who begrudgingly admitted Paul Tisdale made the right decision to drop him.
"I think I was having a good season until about December," he said. "I made a few big mistakes which cost us points and games and I got brought out of the team. It's hard to admit it as a player, to say it's time to come out, but maybe it was. I always work hard, so when I did come out, I was desperate to get back on it and push Stu.
"If anyone in the squad deserves a chance, I felt it was Stu. He did really well in training until I was told, and I never argued, I wasn't disappointed. I knew it would be hard, he's a top lad and a top keeper. He had supported me, and it was my turn to support him."
Nicholls' 100th game is likely to come this Saturday when Dons take on Lincoln City as top plays second in League 2.
The keeper continued: "It has flown by. I was told yesterday that it could be my 100th game. It has flown by.
"These are the games you have to win. These are the types of games you grow up wanting to play, and I'm really looking forward to it."
Asked of his highlights, he added: "Making my league debut – I had worked really hard until that point. Dave (Martin) had done well to keep his place, and I knew if I got in, I'd have to work just as hard to keep it.
"And AFC Wimbledon away (where Nicholls saved a penalty). It was a tense atmosphere, a big game to play in."