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Neal hails new signing

20 February 2014

Dons boss pleased with unexpected loan capture

Neal Ardley believes Wimbledon have pulled off a transfer coup with the loan signing of Scunthorpe United midfielder Michael Collins.

Shortly after Michael completed his first training session with the Dons today, Neal Ardley admitted it was something of a surprise to land Scunthorpe’s captain in a loan deal until the end of 2013/14.

Speaking to Dons Player, Neal (pictured above right with Michael) said: “We only heard last week that Michael might be available from Scunthorpe. You do not expect a team near the top of the league to have their captain available to sign, but to be fair to Neil Cox he did a lot of work on it. Credit to the player too because he’s played up north for all his career, but he wanted to come down to London and play football.

“Michael has been fit to play for a while. He played games for the reserves after his injury and has played half an hour here and there for the first-team recently. We’ve a lot of games coming up and we were looking for a midfielder with experience and not an Under-21 player that we would be taking a risk on.”

Neal added the acquisitions of Collins and Jake Nicholson now adds real competition for places in the midfield areas.

“We’ve not had strength in depth in the last few months,” Neal said. “We’ve been naming 17 players in the squad rather than leaving players out. As tough as it is to leave players out, I would much rather be in that situation. We need players to look around when we’re at the training ground and say ‘how am I even going to get into the squad?’ These additions will hopefully raise the levels of everyone in the squad back to what we need them to be playing at.”

Dons Player subscribers can watch an in depth seven-minute video interview with Neal Ardley on our premium site later, which includes team news for Saturday’s home match against Bury. We will also feature an extended interview with Michael on Dons Player tonight.

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