By Chris Slavin
Neal Ardley said it was easy for new additions Deji Oshilaja and Cody McDonald to integrate into the squad in today's first pre-season training session.
Deji and Cody, who were team-mates at Gillingham last season, were back reunited at our New Malden training base as the whole first-team were put through their paces in preparation for 2017/18.
Speaking afterwards, Neal said: "This has been easier than other years when a lot of the players did not know each other. Cody knows about five or six of the boys already and Deji knows most of them from when he was here previously. It's been fairly easy for those two. It is always like the first day back at school when we come back, but it is nice to see the boys because we purposely sent them away and tried to keep them away from each other for as long as possible.
"We've looked at things that maybe hindered us last season and what we needed to do better – we always audit ourselves. We are putting that into practice during the summer. We sat down with the boys today and it was a chance to hit them with it straight away. We gave them the rules and made them aware of things that are going to be different. These are things we felt we needed to improve upon after reflection. The boys have got a good picture of where things are going now from day one and I am pretty sure they will roll with it."
Deji, who enjoyed his first training session with AFC Wimbledon for over two years after previously being here on loan, believes that Cody's forward ability will be a big plus for the Dons.
"Everyone knows that in this league Cody has got good experience," said Deji. "If he can chip in with goals – like we know he can – I am sure it will put us in good stead for the season ahead. I know a few of the lads here already and I have blended in well. It was a tough training session today, but very enjoyable. Obviously, training here will be different for me because I joined halfway through the season last time. The boys have welcomed us in today and it will not be hard for us to fit into the group."