BY DANIEL MARSH
AFC Wimbledon head coach Mark Robinson has outlined his staffing plans ahead of next season but is remaining tight-lipped over the possible addition of a number two.
The Dons chief had indicated previously that bringing in an assistant would have to wait until the summer.
England U17 head coach Justin Cochrane has been assisting Robinson on matchdays since his appointment back in February.
But there may still be scope to add to the permanent staff ranks in SW19 before the 2021-22 season commences in August.
“I’m quite clear where I want to go with staffing,” said Robinson. “I see it as really, really exciting. Because although I’m an experienced coach in developing, I’m new to coaching the first team. Rob’s [Tuvey] new. Andy [Parslow] the restarts coach is new. Goncalo [Pinto] is new.
“The only real experience at first team level was Bayzo [Ashley Bayes]. I know I’d been around the first-team level for the last year or so, but not any real experience. So looking at how we’ve done, I look at that only as a positive.
“I’m huge in having an environment where you’re developing your staff. I’m a big believer that you have to look after your own quality people in the building. That’s not just in the first team – that’s at academy level too.
“So I’ll have a huge emphasis on looking after the quality people that we’ve got in the building, because if we’re going to build something then we need to do that.
“I can’t afford for staff to leave and go somewhere else, because I’ve worked with a lot of these guys for anywhere between seven and 12 years. That’s 12 years of football conversations and sharing ideas and knowing exactly where we need to go. So my huge emphasis is on looking after the people already in the building, and then maybe looking at any holes or gaps there are to fill after that.”
But Robinson won’t be making additions for the sake of it – whether that’s on the coaching staff or on the playing field.
“I see people get a real buzz, a real excitement out of that [external additions]. I see that. I see it with players as well,” said Robinson.
“It’s been a case at this football club that there’s a lot more buzz about players outside of the club than the players inside of the club, and there has been for years.
“I don’t know if they feel that’s part of the game, the wheeling and dealing of football and they get a buzz out of it and a fix.
“I don’t get a fix out of that at all. In fact, I don’t enjoy it, I don’t get it. My buzz comes from seeing players flourish and get better.
“That’s why I’m so proud of the Ayoub [Assal] situation and the Rudi [Jack Rudoni] situation. We could be looking at a bigger club’s released player and people may go ‘oh yeah, he’s been at that club’, and I’m going, well they’re not better than what we’ve already got in the building.
“People get seduced by players who have been at this club and that club, but we’ve got top quality young players at this football club. And we’ve got good players who have been here [longer].
“I don’t like that buzz. I don’t enjoy it, because all it does is take your focus away from what you’re doing. I see it in the January transfer window. People lose focus because they’re trying to bring in this player and that player instead of focusing on and developing what you’ve got.
“That’s been my proudest moment. It’s not staying up, it’s the style of football and how we’ve done it. We’ve played our way out of it.
“We’ve done that by having full belief in the players that we’ve got, as well as bringing in other youngsters [from the academy] and developing the players and the staff, and that’s the way I see it going forward.
“I’m not saying that you don’t need to strengthen, but anyone who comes and joins us on our journey, they’ve got to be of the right character and they’ve got to understand the club. That’s what you’ve already got in the building – with staff and players. It’s a huge thing for me.”
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