Glyn Hodges has bolstered his defensive options ahead of Wimbledon’s return to League One action by signing Ben Heneghan.
The 27-year-old comes with plenty of experience at this level after playing for the last two seasons at Blackpool, on loan from Sheffield United. Since leaving the Blades in the summer, Ben has been a free agent, but our manager believes the centre-back will be a very useful acquisition after working with him at Stoke City.
Speaking today about the signing of Ben, Glyn said: “I know Ben because I had him at Stoke for a couple of years. He was a young, up and coming player there and since leaving he has done tremendously well. He went to Chester, then up to Scotland, before joining Sheffield United. He played against us last season for Blackpool, so he knows the level, and he’s a good acquisition for us.
“He’s no-nonsense, a good size, and he’s a good professional, so he ticks a lot of boxes, and we are delighted that he has signed. Before the deadline we had targeted a centre-back, but we did not quite get that done. As we are still uncertain about the timing of Luke’s return, we are basically two down. It’s unusual to sign a player of Ben’s calibre outside the window, so we jumped at the opportunity.
“The only problem is that he’s not quite at the level of fitness of the other lads, but that’s fine because he’s a naturally fit boy anyway, so it won’t be long before he gets up to speed. He will be straight into the squad and with games coming up we are going to need a lot of bodies.”
After coming through the ranks at Premier League club Everton, Manchester-born Ben joined Stoke City, where he worked with our manager. Though he showed promise at Stoke, signing his first professional deal, Ben left there at the age of 20, and joined Chester FC. Ben became a real favourite with the non league club, scoring a memorable winner against arch-rivals Wrexham, and earning selection for Chester’s team of the decade.
An impressive spell north of the border at Motherwell earned Ben a move to the Blades and he made his debut for United in the Emirates FA Cup victory against Preston North End. However, no more first-team appearances followed and Ben reignited his career by making 80 appearances in the last two seasons during a loan spell at League One club Blackpool.
In his first interview after signing on the dotted line, Ben said: “I’ve worked with the manager before, so I’m happy to be here, and I can’t wait to get going. I was at Stoke with Glyn when I was with the Under-23s after I moved there from Everton. It was my first professional contract, and Glyn did the best for me. My first pro contract meant everything to me and I was happy to get it there.
“I am still learning every day, and the more games I play the better. I’m a no-nonsense defender, I head everything, get stuck in, and I see myself as a bit of a leader. I have played in this league for a couple of years now, so I know what it’s about. I will pass on my knowledge to others and try to help as much as possible, but I just want to go out there and keep as many clean sheets as possible.”
Look out soon on the official website for the full interview with Ben.