By Chris Slavin
Alan Reeves has already strengthened his attacking options for next season's development squad by bringing in 19-year-old forward Tommy Wood.
Tommy has committed his future to AFC Wimbledon, his deal commencing on 1st July.
Born in Hillingdon, Tommy played Sunday League football for Yeading Wanderers, before being spotted by Wycombe Wanderers at the age of 11. Three years later, Tommy joined Reading, but he left the Royals in 2015 to sign for Burnley. His impressive debut season there ended with him being named as the Clarets' Youth Team Player of the Year and he moved up to play for the development squad at Burnley.
He joins the Dons after showing his potential in development matches for Wimbledon at the end of last season.
"Tommy played really well against Bournemouth and Plymouth," said Alan Reeves. "He brings other players into play, he is strong, intelligent, and hard-working. I am looking forward to working with him. In the last 10 or 15 years academies have been producing numbers 10s, but now everyone is scrambling around looking for big number 9s. Tommy fits the bill. We are looking for a big number 9 for the first-team ideally as we've not been able to replace Tom Elliott since he left.
"Unless you are an out and out passing side, which we haven't been, you are looking for a plan B. That plan B normally involves a target man when your backs are against the wall a little bit and you need a bit of a get-out ball. That's why we've brought Tommy in, especially for the Under-23s."
Tommy intends to grab his opportunity at AFC Wimbledon with both hands and reignite his career after leaving Burnley.
"I got a phone call saying that Wimbledon wanted to take a look at me, so I trained for a few days here and played in a game," he said. "I thought I did well and Wimbledon invited me down for another couple of weeks to take a look at me. I really liked the place, the boys were really welcoming, and I enjoyed working with the manager, Reevesy, and the staff. I'm a target man and a good outlet. I play for the team, I play off people, and bring other players into play. I'd like to think I can get a few goals too.
"I know that Wimbledon is a big club, up and coming, and it has a lot of history. Everybody knows the Wimbledon story and I'm glad to be a part of it. It's nice to have a new challenge and a new chapter in my football career. I just have to crack on now, and make sure I am fit for pre-season. If I train hard and perform well, then who knows what can happen? Hopefully I can be knocking on the first-team door. It's another challenge in my career and I'm really looking forward to it."
Tommy Wood is the second addition this month for next season's development squad with Alan Reeves having also brought in former Reading midfielder Kosta Sparta. The 18-year-old Australian impressed in development matches against Milton Keynes and Bournemouth.
"Kosta is technically a very good player," said Alan. "He does not give the ball away much and he showed a good attitude in training. He did not look out of place in first-team training, which is very important. Physically, he has things to work on, but he looks like a talented boy. Hopefully, Kosta will have that bit of hunger to do well after being allowed to leave Reading and he will hit the ground running when pre-season training starts."