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Joe aims to repay the faith

5 July 2014

First interview wth new Dons goalkeeper

Joe McDonnell says he’s aiming to repay the faith shown in him by AFC Wimbledon after signing his first professional contract as a goalkeeper.

The 20-year-old has flourished under the guidance of Dons goalkeeper coach Ashley Bayes, who coached Joe at Basingstoke Town and during a training spell with Wimbledon last season. Joe broke into the Basingstoke first-team last season and his displays attracted interest from Football League clubs to fully vindicate his decision to become a goalkeeper.

Speaking to Rob Cornell during an interview for Dons Player, Joe (pictured above left with Neal Ardley and James Shea) said: “Having played part-time football, it feels good to finally sign for a professional club. There were a couple of clubs interested in me, but signing for AFC Wimbledon was my first choice. It was a great option for me to come here. ‘Bayzo’ has really helped me and I’ve been working with him for about three years now. When I first met him I was not as set on being a goalkeeper, but I realised this was what I wanted to do.

“I played amateur cricket until I was 16 or 17, but then I gave it up to take my football seriously. I have known Ross Worner and ‘Bayzo’ for years now and I know a few of the other lads from training here last season. I like the way ‘Bayzo’ runs training sessions because he gets the fundamental parts of coaching right.”

Joe added that Basingstoke Town manager Jason Bristow played a big part in his development and he hopes that being a part of Wimbledon’s Under-21 squad next season will help him progress towards the first-team.

“Jason has been a massive factor for me,” said Joe. “He was the academy manager when I first joined Basingstoke’s youth team and I was fortunate that he became first-team manager. Jason gave me my first contract as a player and he really helped me.

“The ultimate goal for me is to get into the first-team here, but I will have to work myself up by playing good games for the Under-21s next season.”

The interview with Joe McDonnell featured on Dons Player shortly after he signed, along with interviews with James Shea and Neal Ardley.

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