mkdons.com takes a look at the career of newest recruit Nicky Maynard, who has rejoined the Dons on a one-year deal...
The striker spent time on loan with Northern Premier League side Witton Albion at the start of the 2005/06 season before making his Football League debut as substitute in Crewe’s 4-2 win over Millwall in April 2006 – Maynard scored with his first touch in professional football, tapping home after Michael O’Connor’s shot had hit the post.
The following season proved to be Maynard’s breakout campaign. Scoring on his first Football League start in August 2006, the forward went on to total 19 goals in 38 appearances, while he was also named League One’s Player of the Month in September.
Although Maynard’s 2007/08 season didn’t properly start until December due to injury, he still managed to score 15 times in just 28 games. Towards the end of the campaign Maynard netted in seven consecutive games, a run which two braces and three hat-tricks.
With a stunning goalscoring record and still only at the age of 22, it was no surprise that Maynard found himself linked with a host of Championship clubs in the summer of 2008. In the end it was Bristol City who secured his services for a reported fee of £2.25 million.
He scored three games into his Robins career and finished the season with 11 goals to his name. He netted a brace in a 4-2 win over Watford to continue his run of scoring more than one goal in a game at least once in season.
Then came the 2009/10 campaign, arguably the most profitable of Maynard’s career to date. After scoring seven goals in the opening two months of the season, he went on to break the 20-goal mark for the first time, finishing the year on 21 goals. His stunning strike against QPR in December was also named the Football League’s Goal of 2009.
Maynard suffered a knee injury ahead of the 2010/11 season which ruled him out until February but the forward managed to net six goals in 13 games before the year was out. He then returned to regular football the following campaign, scoring eight times in the first half of the campaign.
That January, after failing to negotiate a new contract at Ashton Gate, Maynard made a move to West Ham United on a two-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee.
He made his debut for the Hammers in a 1-1 draw with Southampton on 14th February but it was in his next appearance when his first goal arrived. He netted three times for his new club during the second half of the 2011/12 season, helping them achieve promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.
Maynard featured and scored in West Ham’s Capital One Cup win over his former side Crewe at the start of the 2012/13 campaign before returning to the Championship to join Cardiff City on a permanent deal.
Unfortunately an early-season injury meant the striker made just four appearances that campaign for the Bluebirds but that didn’t prevent him getting on the scoresheet for his new employers – Maynard netted a 90th minute penalty to help already-promoted Cardiff earn a 2-2 draw on the final day of the season.
He featured eight times for the Welsh club during the first half of their 2013/14 Premier League campaign, while also playing in two Capital One Cup fixtures – the first of which he scored in.
In January 2014, Maynard made a loan switch to Wigan Athletic and during his four months in Greater Manchester he scored four goals in 18 appearances while helping the Latics reach the Championship play-offs.
Last season, Maynard added a further 12 games to his Cardiff total, the majority of which came during the first half of the campaign. He scored the winning goal in the Bluebirds’ victory over his former side Wigan Athletic in August.
Maynard left Cardiff in May following the expiry of his contract and began training with Nottingham Forest. He also spent time with Blackburn Rovers before arriving in Milton Keynes on a deal until the end of the 2015/16 season.
He made his debut for the Dons in the Capital One Cup tie against Southampton at Stadium MK, before featuring from the start for the first time in October away at Huddersfield Town.
Maynard’s first goal for the men from MK1 came away at Brighton & Hove Albion in November – a superb long-distance strike which was nominated for Club’s Goal of the Season award.
He followed that strike up, by scoring two goals in the space of 10 days over Christmas in the victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City.
Maynard found the net five more times after the turn of the year, including four in the final seven games of the campaign – a run which saw him claim the Club’s Top Goalscorer honour ahead of winger Josh Murphy.
His contract expired at the end of the 2015/16 season but after fielding interest from numerous clubs over the summer, opted for a return to Stadium MK where he’ll be hoping to add to his goal total and help the Dons bounce back in Sky Bet League One.