When Chico scores, he’s in the stands

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THE Dons fans sing that when he scores, they’ll be celebrating on the pitch. But Adam Chicksen says he’s more likely to be leaping into the stands with them if he hits the back of the net any time soon.

The popular defender has made 21 appearances in the first team this season, but is yet to score in his Dons career.

He has quickly established himself as a bit of a cult hero to the fans, and he is keen to repay their support with a goal.

“I’ll probably go and leap into the stands with them!” he said. “I’m looking for that goal and I’m trying hard to score it. I’m trying my hardest.

“I’ll keep going and pushing for it, so when I do I’ll probably be in the stands with the fans before they can get on the pitch!

“I thrive off the fans. It gives you the extra incentive to work harder and show them why you should be here.

“It’s great when you hear them chanting your name – you want to go on more of a run and do things that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise. It gives me a lot extra of confidence.”

Despite making a handful of starts this season, the 20-year-old admitted he gets frustrated with sitting on the bench, keen to get a regular run in the side to prove himself.

He has been seen more often this campaign though, given the backing of his manager to step in to fill the gap at right back. And while it isn’t his preferred position, he admits he’d prefer to play there than not play at all.

He said: “Things are going well. Obviously not being in the team every week as a footballer makes me a bit frustrated, but the main thing is that you’ve got to keep working hard in training and then impressing when you’re on the pitch.

“Every time I come on I try and prove myself and show that I deserve a place in the starting line-up.

“When you go in and out of a side, you obviously want the side to be doing well. It’s good that we’re still picking up wins, but of course I want to play more.

“I’d love to get automatic promotion, but selfishly I want to be playing football. I don’t want to watch time go by from the bench.

“It’s frustrating sometimes. You have to be playing as a footballer, that’s what I’m paid to do. I want to be playing. I play hard when I do come on and hopefully that’s what I show.”

While Chicksen naturally sees himself as a left-back, he’s an unfortunate victim of circumstance as standing between him and a place in the first team is Dons captain Dean Lewington.

But despite being kept out of the side by the skipper, Chicksen insists he has learned a lot from Lewington and as a result has become a better defender.

“I’d say I’m a left-back, but I’ve trained as a modern day full-back which involves getting forward a lot. I have to play right-back at the moment because needs must, but I feel I’m twice as good at left back,” he said.

“I look to Lewington because he plays every game. You can not afford give other people chances as a professional footballer because it could cost you your own place in the team.

“My attacking came naturally because I played on the left wing as a youngster, but as I developed as a full-back, I looked to him because he has so much experience. He gives you so much advice and I’ve learned so much from him.”

Meanwhile, assistant manager John Gorman was delighted to see Charlie MacDonald and Jabo Ibehre back on the scoresheet on Saturday after long goal droughts.

While Dean Bowditch was taking the plaudits for landing he Player of the Month award for February, MacDonald and Ibehre bounced back to wrap up Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Exeter City, putting behind them the disappointing defeat to Yeovil last Tuesday.

Saturday’s opener was eventually credited to Mathias Doumbe after a deflection led to some confusion as to who scored, but Gorman said he’s proud to see goals are coming from all over the pitch at the moment.

“It’s something we take pride in,” he said. “We do not rely on one player like some other sides. No disrespect meant to Huddersfield, but if Jordan Rhodes were to get injured, I don’t know where their next goal would come from and they’d be in a bad way.

“In our case, every player in the team is capable of scoring. It was very pleasing to see Jabo scoring again. He works so hard in training, he puts in a lot of effort and to see them scoring, it gives you a lot of pride. And the fans see how much effort they put in.

“Bowditch was great value for his award because he’s scoring a lot of goals. We want him to continue that. He’s enjoying his position too. Everyone at the front can inter-change in their positions.

“Our team plays with a lot of fluidity, he might find himself on the right, or the left or down the middle.

“But if Dean’s not scoring, someone else will do it because we aren’t just relying on him. We are scoring goals, but we need a bit more composure sometimes.”

Things are still tight at the top of League 1 and with players returning from injury, Gorman is looking forward to an exciting run in.

“We’re right on course for a great end to the season. We’ve had one defeat in the last six games,” he said.

“And we’re getting players back from injury and suspension, Alan Smith is getting better and stronger every day, Jay O’Shea has come into the frame all of a sudden, Paul Slane has joined us and shown glimpses of his potential. We’re so close to the teams above us and it’s really exciting.”

This Saturday’s opponents come in the form of relegation strugglers Chesterfield, who sit second from bottom of the pile.

The meeting between the two sides earlier this season saw Dons hammer the Spirites 6-2, with Sam Baldock signing off with a hat-trick before leaving for West Ham the following week.

Chesterfield are enjoying a good patch of form lately though, and Gorman isn’t expecting a walk over at the b2net Stadium.

He said: “Chesterfield are one of the form teams at the moment, as daft as it sounds. It’s a lovely new stadium, and it’ll be a good atmosphere. They are fighting for points.

“We do well at these places though, we go into away games with no fear – we attack and we know teams will attack us.

“But Chesterfield will feel they will want to win at home and that should be better for us to hit them on the break and play the sort of football we like to play.”