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Focus: Introducing the stars of AFC Wimbledon's development squad

Egli Kaja's guide to the under-21s

22 August 2017

By Rob Cornell

The young stars of AFC Wimbledon will be looking to maintain their progress and they're in great spirits ahead of the new Central League season.

Forward Egli Kaja, who is celebrating his call-up to the Albanian under-21 squad, took time out from preparations to show how well he knows his team-mates, in a clip available via our official club YouTube channel below.

Alan Reeves' development squad, who completed their preparations with a narrow defeat at Oxford United last week, open their Central League campaign away to Bournemouth on September 6.

Yet again, it remains a balancing act for Alan, bridging the gap to first-team contention, and doing his bit to help Mark Robinson's youth team players step-up.

"We've no more friendlies as a few of the lads are likely to be involved in the Checkatrade Trophy game at Barnet next week," said Alan. "The under-18s have started their league season and we take a few of their players for our squad, " said Alan.

The core of the squad centres around nine players and many of them have already forced their way into Neal Ardley's plans for the new League One season with Toby Sibbick, Anthony Hartigan, Alfie Egan, Jayden Antwi and Kaja involved in recent match days.

Goalkeeper Nik Tzanev and outfield players Seth Owens (currently on loan to Whitehawk), Paul Kalambayi and Neset Bellikli are also pushing for first-team involvement.

Seth Owens remains very much a part of Alan's plans, following an impressive debut for Whitehawk in a 1-0 defeat to Concord Rangers on Saturday.

"Whitehawk came in for him and they're at a decent level in the National League-South. I thought about it and it's good for his development," said Alan.

"I spoke to their manager afterwards and he felt Seth was their best player. After last week we had no game for two to three weeks and having spoken to his advisors, the boy just wants to play football.

"He'll still come in and train with us, like other players we let go out on loan last season. He'll still be around the group, which is good for him."

The development squad take on Bristol Rovers in the Central League Cup on October 10 and home games are again due to be staged at Merstham FC. The full list of matches is available by going to the fixtures section of our website, including games against newly-promoted Forest Green.

Stay up-to-date with our development squad throughout the season by visiting the official website and our social media channels.

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