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Bitting: My first full season

John Bitting shared his thoughts following the conclusion of MK Dons Under-18’s season…

17 May 2023

MK Dons Lead Player Development Phase Head Coach John Bitting shared his thoughts on what’s been ‘a very enjoyable season’ for himself and the academy.

The young Dons concluded their 2022/23 campaign with a goalless draw against the league leaders Northampton Town, which saw them place sixth within the EFL Youth Alliance Merit League Two division.
Aside from their league competition, the Under-18s made club history when they faced Rotherham United at Stadium MK within the final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
John Bitting’s boys were crowned victors after a 2-0 triumph, which saw them claim the trophy for the first time within the club’s history.
“This season, away from the EFL Youth Alliance Cup final win against Rotherham, I think has been one of my most enjoyable seasons. Mainly because of the group of players and staff I’ve been able to work with.” Bitting said whilst he reflected on the recent campaign.
“The group have been superb since the first day of pre-season and throughout the year. There’s a really competitive spirit throughout this group and the support I’ve had from all the background staff has been excellent.

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“The staff have always been around on a daily basis to support and that’s been a great help for the Under-18s to grow and develop.”
When questioned about the landmark achievement of lifting the EFL Youth Alliance League Cup for the first time in MK Dons’ history, the Lead PDP Coach responded “It wasn’t necessarily a stage of the competition that we thought we were going to get to, but throughout the whole tournament we just kept going.
“We continued to show great resilience and character throughout the games played, whether that was the comeback against Portsmouth after being 2-0 down or scoring in the final minute against Exeter City.
“To then go on and beat Rotherham in the final even after scoring early was excellent. Once again, the boys showed real resilience and character throughout difficult times within that final. It just added to the entire success of the tournament.

“The success we shared this year has become a strong part in setting the bar higher for next season and allowing ourselves to progress further. Not just within the knockout competitions, but also the programme delivered to the young players.”

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