FORGOTTEN man Shaun MacDonald is determined to make his mark on a clean slate during pre-season by winning back a place in the heart of Cherries’ midfield.
The 25-year-old, who started eight of the club’s opening nine Championship matches last season, saw his progress curtailed by a knee injury at the end of September.
Following his month on the sidelines, the Welshman fell behind in-form trio Eunan O’Kane, Harry Arter and loanee Andrew Surman in the pecking order as Cherries hit a purple patch during December.
From the turn of the year, MacDonald was limited to seven substitute appearances in the league, four of which came in the final five minutes of matches.
It was the second time in as many seasons that the former Wales under-21 captain had lost a regular starting slot to injury as ankle ligament damage stifled his participation in Cherries’ promotion from League One.
But the former Swansea City man, rewarded with a three-and-a-half year deal in January 2013, insisted a strong summer of preparation could provide the platform for a lasting first-team return this time round.
MacDonald told the Daily Echo: “It’s a fresh start for me. I need to get back, work hard and try to impress again in pre-season.
“At the moment, I’m trying not to think too far ahead. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, I just want to come back, enjoy it and play my natural game so I can go into the season fresh and ready.
“I love living in this area, love the club and I feel very settled. On a personal level, I feel happy and everything is set up for me to succeed here.
“When I look back on last season, it was a frustrating one for me. I started so well and was playing with a lot of confidence but when I got injured for a month, other players took their chance.
“By the time I came back, the team had started to do well so as frustrating as it was, not being in the team was understandable.
“But nobody is allowed to stand still at this club and the boys who played week in, week out last season will not be guaranteed a place.
“For me, it’s a case of getting some good work under my belt and taking it from there. My focus is to get into the team and start games after pre-season.
“I haven’t looked too far ahead of that, I just need to make sure I come out of the summer in the best possible shape to challenge.
“There is always the chance for everyone to impress so I am going to get my head down and give it my all.”