Skipper Lewington is still leading from the treatment room

Dean Lewington
Dean Lewington

He may have been out of action for the last two games, but Robbie Neilson says captain Dean Lewington is still proving himself as a leader in the dressing room.

The 32-year-old was spotted on crutches at Dons' 4-0 win over Peterborough at London Road last weekend after he picked up an ankle injury in training, and again on the sidelines during the 1-1 draw with Bolton on Saturday despite being several weeks from returning to the side.

Dean Bowditch made his return on Saturday against Bolton

Dean Bowditch made his return on Saturday against Bolton

Neilson isn't expecting his skipper to be back in full training until next week, maybe even the week after, but asked Lewington to remain in the thick of the action off the field.

"He's a strong character," said the manager. "I spoke to him when he got injured, asking him to stay around the place. He was at Peterborough with his crutches, and then was at the game on Saturday too.

"He has been great since he has been out, having him around the place. He's a leader and the players look up to him, so it's important when he's out, he's still here with us."

While Lewington and Ben Reeves remain sidelined for the next two weeks or so, Saturday marked the return of Dean Bowditch. Having not kicked a ball this year due to a calf problem, Bowditch, who was Dons' top scorer until the Peterborough game, was given 22 minutes against Bolton Wanderers.

Neilson said though, that Bowditch could have made his return even earlier.

He said: "I thought about putting him on at Peterborough, but the way the game was going, we were in control and I didn't think there was much point. So I gave him a week's training, we got him more game time on Saturday so I expect him to be fully fit."

One man who may be rested in forthcoming weeks is Chuks Aneke. Having played a stand-out role in the wins over Peterborough and Northampton, Aneke was withdrawn after 58 minutes on Saturday as his wait for a full 90 minutes goes on. But Neilson says the 23-year-old still needs to be treated with care after such a long time out.

"We need to be careful not to overplay him," Neilson added. "He has done really well for us, but we expected him to come down a bit until he really finds his stride."

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