AFC Wimbledon head coach set for playing budget talks

BY DANIEL MARSH

Mark Robinson is set to meet with AFC Wimbledon chief executive Joe Palmer next week to discuss his playing budget for next season.

The Dons head to Lincoln City on Sunday safe from the League One drop.

“Recruitment is being done differently now,” said head coach Robinson. “I’ve got meetings over the next week or two to find out my budget and where the club wants to go in terms of recruitment.

“I certainly don’t want massive disruption. I don’t think that’s healthy. Since I’ve been here, every year we’ve had 60 or 70 per cent of the squad leaving. You can’t build something if you keep doing that. I want more sustainability.

“There will obviously be areas we’ll look to strengthen and improve. But until I know exactly who’s going to be staying out of the lads who are out of contract, and possibly trying to secure other players that have come in, then I won’t know in terms of recruitment.

“But I certainly want as little change as possible, because the squad have shown they can compete, and that’s without a pre-season.”

Top-scorer Joe Pigott is out of contract and has a career-best 22 League One goals this season. Nik Tzanev, Shane McLoughlin and Terell Thomas are also due to be available. Robinson added: “All I know right now is that the players are loving their football.

“In terms of keeping players, everyone wants to better themselves. I don’t know what sort of offers are going to come in for players. But I’m very, very confident that any player leaving is not going to be leaving for financial gain – it would be because they’re going to be bettering themselves because of the level that they’re playing at.

“I’m really confident because of the environment and culture that we’ve built, and the excitement moving forward that players will want to carry on playing for this football club.

“It is a different project [to what it has been], because I think everyone’s looking forward and it’s mine and the staff’s job now to deliver that.

“It’s okay for me saying that we don’t want to be looking at survival, but we’ve got to prove that. Our job now is to get the fans excited. The way I see it, it’s not about ‘can we fill the stadium?’, we’ve got to start looking at ‘can we produce the football that fills the stadium?’ and there’s then excess fans trying to get into the stadium.

“That’s the kind of mentality we need.”

PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD

 


 

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