Aaron Pressley believes he’s coping well with the increased physicality of League One football – and he’s determined to rise to the challenge in the coming weeks.
An injury to Ollie Palmer has placed more responsibility on the 19-year-old’s shoulders, but he’s ready to make his mark – and there’s certainly no doubt about his dedication to the cause.
The on-loan Brentford striker has already scored three goals, and he’s been working hard to progress all aspects of his game.
“I love it here,” said Aaron. “It’s a great environment and one where you want to stay and do more. I want to stay and do extras, and enjoy my time here. I’m not just here to come in and go home, and go back to my parent club as soon as possible. I want to be a part of something, and I’ve said that to fans that I’ve met. I want to be a part of this club’s journey, and hopefully I can do that this season.
“We are selling out the stadium most weeks, and it’s unbelievable. Even at the sponsors’ dinner you could tell how excited the fans are, and how much it means to them. They just want us to give 100 per cent. As a team, we are doing that, and with the quality we have on top of that I’m sure we can excite them as well, as we have so far.
“I think I’m learning in every game. I’m still young and some of these players I’m coming up against are experienced lads. Part of my game is bringing that physicality and I can get better at that – I think I am doing that. I do need that run of games, and it’s important for a striker to get that run in the team. It’s down to me now to take that opportunity, to show what I can do.
“It’s obviously a bit of an adjustment for me. It’s a different dressing room, different surroundings, and fans are the games. All of that is a big change, but I think if I bring my game to the table I can show the fans what I'm capable of.
Playing table tennis at the training ground has been a welcome, but unexpected distraction for Aaron, but he admits that he still has a bit of work to go to match up to the team-mate he’s been sharing a room with – Ethan Chislett!
“Chis is good, but I’m not great to be honest – I’ve just started playing! I’m a bit of a quick learner because I’m starting to get good.”
The Dons head for Rotherham tonight without the suspended Ayoub Assal, but Aaron believes there’s enough attacking threat to cope and he’s loving playing in front of crowds at senior level for the first time.
“We’ve got loads of attacking players, and loads of different options up there. I think that’s a good thing because we can refresh the team.
“In the first couple of games I was like, ‘wow, this is different’. I’ve sort of got used to it since, but sometimes during a game you take a moment, particularly when we’ve been to Arsenal and those sort of places, and think, ‘this I unbelievable’. You’ve just got to enjoy it, and it’s been a great experience.”