DONS’ boss Tony Miller is delighted to have former club captain Craig Lawton back on board for next season.
The 30-year-old forward, who retired from the game the previous season due to work commitments, missed the second half of last season due to injury after deciding to give it another go.
“I thought it was just the dislocated finger and rib cartilage,” recalled Lawton, who had, unbeknown to him at the time, also suffered a lower back disc injury in the home game against London Skolars.
“The rib injury got better with rest but the back problem just got worse. One day I couldn’t get out of bed and I was laid up for a week.
“But I’ve been doing a lot of work with club physio Kev Farley and working on my own and it’s just a case of mainly strengthening it up now and getting myself fit and raring to go.
“Pre-season starts at the end of this month and I want to come back injury free.
“I didn’t have a pre-season last year and I think that was one of the main reasons why I got injured.
“I hadn’t intended playing (last season) and I only initially came back to help the club out when several forwards went away together for a couple of weeks during the season.
“I enjoyed being back playing and decided to stay on after the lads had come back and I felt that I was doing okay until I got injured against London. I wasn’t conditioned right which you have to be to play this game. That’s why I want a good pre-season to make sure that I start the season in a good condition in order to give a good account of myself.
“I’m looking forward to it; it’s good to be back into it. I’ve had problems with work commitments and injuries in the past two seasons but I just want to put that all behind me and get back into good shape and hopefully playing well.
“It was frustrating for me personally missing the last couple of months of last season and disappointing for the team just failing to make the semi-finals of the Championship One play-offs.
“The club have kept the majority of last season’s squad and also made some good additions and I think that we’ll be there or thereabouts next season.
“I think that we’ve got to be looking to win it next season but it is not going to be easy with all three Cumbrian teams in the league.
“I think playing in Championship One for the last two seasons has served a good purpose with the situation the club found itself in at the time, but we’ve got to get back into the Championship if we want to attract bigger gates.
“It has been a re-building period for the club’s new management but I think that last season was brilliant and such as Carl Hall (joint-owner) and Tony Miller (head coach) did a great job.
“I thought the team played some great rugby which was very entertaining to watch and for that Tony deserves a lot of credit.”