AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Bowen: It will be difficult to keep hold of Rudoni and Assal

Mark Bowen says it will be difficult for AFC Wimbledon to fight off interest in Jack Rudoni and Ayoub Assal from higher up the football pyramid.

The South London Press revealed on Friday that Rudoni, who graduated through the club’s academy and reached 100 appearances for the Dons in the 1-1 draw with Fleetwood Town, is expected to leave this summer.

The 20-year-old is Wimbledon’s top goalscorer this season, having plundered 12 goals and picked up five assists in League One.

Assal signed a new three-year deal with the South Londoners at the start of this season and has nine goals to his name in all competitions.

Deptford-raised Assal trained with Andy Edwards’ England U20 squad in the last international break.

“I am under no illusions that the club have got to do things that they need to do to financially survive – I am aware of that,” Bowen told the South London Press of possible interest in Assal and Rudoni.

“If it comes to a situation where certain individuals have to leave, then what is most important is that it’s right for the club in terms of the money that we get and if we can replace them to the right level.

AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley SkyBet League One, Cherry Red Records Stadium, 30 April 2022

“It’s not an exact science, but I am certainly very much aware of where AFC Wimbledon are in terms of being able to keep players who are maybe getting offers from bigger clubs in higher leagues – it’s a difficult situation to try and fight against.”

While Zach Robinson picked up a hamstring injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season during the 1-1 draw with Milton Keynes, the 19-year-old had started the first three games of Bowen’s managerial reign and scored his first goal in the 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic.

It has been reported that the forward has drawn interest from Derby County, Wigan Athletic, Oxford United and Reading.

While Bowen had not seen the speculation surrounding Robinson’s future, he added: “I am delighted with him.

“At Sheffield Wednesday, he didn’t go under, he gave everything he had. He has shone and proved in the games that he played that he has a future in the game.

“Coming into the building, looking at all the players, I looked at Zach and thought: ‘He’s hungry – he wants to make an impression.’

“The way football turns out, it was only a small window of opportunity really for him to say: ‘Here I am, gaffer, this is what I can do.” And he shone in the first couple of training sessions, so we went with it.

“Yes, he has got a lot to learn, the same as all young players have, but he has the raw attributes and the ammunition to grow as a player.

“I will be certainly hoping that if I am here next year, then Zach is here as well.”

PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD

 

 


 

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