Alan Reeves praised young duo Archie Procter and Jack Rudoni following their opening Central League game, but has a clear message for all of AFC Wimbledon’s developing talent.
“It’s all a learning curve for these young lads. It’s up to them, how they develop over the next year or two and time will tell,” said Alan, our Senior Professional Development Phase Coach. “We’re here to get as many players as we can up to Neal Ardley’s team. We’ll just endeavour to keep striving towards that. If we can be lucky and find a ‘little nugget’ here or there – then all well and good.”
A youthful Wimbledon line-up took an 11th minute lead through Rudoni, but their more experienced Milton Keynes counterparts came back with a goal two minutes from the end to win 2-1.
“They are both good lads. Archie (pictured) has only just come into full-time training and it’s a difficult transition for him,” said Alan. “At the moment he’s playing Saturday and Tuesday, so his body is not used to it. They had a few first-team players out there, a couple of sharp lads up front and it was a decent test for him. ‘Rudi’ (Jack Rudoni) puts himself about in midfield, sees a pass and knows where to go and find it.”
Alan’s assessment of Wimbledon’s season-opener at Merstham and his thoughts on his new-look squad can be seen in full in the video below, via a link to our official YouTube channel.
Alan also gave starts to his three new signings over the summer – defender Kyron Stabana (Derby), midfielder Kosta Sparta (Reading) and forward Tommy Wood (Burnley).
“They’re doing fine,” said Alan. “I had to bring Kosta off after about an hour, as he’s been injured for quite a while, so I have to be careful with him. I thought it was Tom’s best game for a while. He looked a handful and gave us something to build on. Kyron grew into the game. He’s only been in the door a few weeks and he looks an athletic, keen footballer. He’s quick as well, so he’ll improve with time.”
Academy products Tom Scott and Neset Bellikli are both on the comeback trail after lengthy spells out of the game and they remain part of Alan’s squad.
“They both had long-term injuries last year, they both had fractured backs, so they’ve had pre-season with us,” said Alan. “At the minute they’re still on trial. It’s a bit of a harsh situation for them to be in, but they are still here and again the ball is in their court. You couldn’t fault either of them for their endeavour and work rate.”
Midfielder Ossama Ashley and striker Bobby Mills joined the injury list, but Alan sees it as all part and parcel of the demands of the game and learning to cope.
“It is what it is,” said Alan. “Part of being a footballer is getting injured. If it’s a case of people playing out of position next week against Luton, or ‘square pegs in round holes’, we’ll have to do it. Get them set up for it, get a game plan and just go for it. Ideally I’d like to get the injured boys back, if I can. I’d like to try and strengthen the eleven who start the game.”