By Rob Cornell
New signing James Hanson is determined to prove once again that he can be a top striker in League One.
The former Bradford City forward joined the Dons from Sheffield United, having been the scourge of our defence over recent seasons.
“I feel I have a point to prove in League One,” said James in an interview with our premium iFollow Dons channel. “After a couple of bad seasons through injury and style of play, I feel like I’ve definitely got a point to prove and coming to Wimbledon where I’m going to get service is exactly what I need.
“Neal Ardley kept in touch and if a manager makes you feel wanted and if he wants to play a certain style that suits me best, then this was always my first choice - regardless of other options and interest from other clubs.
“The gaffer made me feel really wanted. The style we want to play will suit me. It’s something I need to get back to and it’s what it was under Bradford with Phil Parkinson. I’m looking forward to working with the gaffer and hopefully thriving off a lot of crosses coming into the box.
“Any team that Neal sets up is never going to be easy to beat. I think they’ve had a similar path to Bradford, we played them a couple of times and we’ve had some great battles. I know his sides are always competitive and I’ve always enjoyed playing against them.
“The minimum to expect when you pull on a shirt is hard work, fight and to give everything asked of you. Neal talked about crosses coming into the box and probably in the last couple of years I haven’t had enough of them, so I can’t wait to get going.”
James also consulted goalkeeper George Long, successfully loaned to Wimbledon for the campaign from the Blades last season, before deciding make the move south for the first time in his career.
“I spoke to 'Longy' and he spoke really well of Wimbledon; the place itself, and he said the fans were brilliant. It couldn’t be a better place to live! At the end of last season, me and my wife came down for a weekend and we absolutely loved it down here, so I’m sure she’ll be looking forward to visiting as much as she can!”
James appreciates the life of a professional footballer even more so, having worked in a supermarket while playing in non-league earlier in his career.
“When you’re coming into work in a football environment, there is no better place to come in to," said James. "It makes you enjoy work every day and as it is a short career you’ve got to make the most of it. This is what I’m looking to do with Wimbledon."
James believes Dons fans will have further cause for optimism when the season gets underway, following his discussions with Neal that persuaded him to make the permanent switch to the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
“He spoke about a couple of players that he’s looking to bring in,” said James. “I know the squad because I’ve played against them many times and they’re capable of competing in League One. I’m really excited about the style of play which will suit me and a couple of signings that he’s hoping to bring in, which hopefully will strengthen the team.”