Neal Ardley has bolstered his attacking options ahead of the new season with Charlton Athletic striker Michael Smith having today signed on loan until 1 January, 2014.
Smith, a towering 6ft 4 inch target man, topped the list of targets for Wimbledon to fill the number nine vacancy in their squad for 2013/14, which starts at Torquay United on Saturday.
The 21-year signed for the Addicks in 2011 after making the breakthrough at Darlington and though he has made just one Charlton appearance in the Capital One Cup against Leyton Orient, Smith has had promising loan spells at Accrington Stanley, Newport and Colchester United.
Speaking to Rob Cornell on Dons Player after the player passed a medical at the training ground this morning, Neal Ardley said: “We looked at a lot of strikers as the summer progressed, including higher profile names, but Michael ticked all the boxes. Simon Bassey was very keen on him and I went away and looked at video footage of Michael playing for Colchester last season. I was delighted with what I saw; I texted Simon and told him that we should get this boy in straight away.
“I made phone calls to people I know at Charlton and asked about his character and how he would fit in for us. What came back to us is that Michael is an extremely fit and athletic centre-forward who is a good finisher and very aggressive at the same time. We started the process about three weeks ago and Chris Powell has been absolutely brilliant with it all. There had been about seven clubs after him, but Chris was really keen for him to come here and he helped us out in every way.”
Smith, who was born and raised in North Tyneside and came through the same Wallsend Boys Club that produced Alan Shearer, played alongside recent Dons signing George Porter at Colchester United last season and he cannot wait to get started with Wimbledon.
“I spoke to the manager Neal Ardley and a few of the lads who have been at the club, including Yado Mambo, and there was a good feeling that came back about Wimbledon,” Smith said. “I know that I can play at this level because I was in League 1 with Colchester last season and scored a few goals at Accrington Stanley too. I like to hold the ball up and bring other players into the play, but I also hope to put the ball in the back of the net too.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch a video interview with Neal Ardley on our premium site soon, which also includes a squad update ahead of the opener at Torquay this Saturday. An interview with Michael Smith will also feature on Dons Player later this afternoon.