Dons boss discusses West Ham midfielder – who he released in summer – and striker set for loan exit

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

AFC Wimbledon manager Glyn Hodges hopes Ossama Ashley is a success story at West Ham United – even though it would throw up questions over his release.

The 19-year-old midfielder was let go by the Dons in the summer but signed a 12-month deal with the east London outfit in September.

Hodges said: “I just think his departure in the summer is credit to the young lads below him – I think it was eight first-year pros that we signed.

“He is a good player and I did like him – but I didn’t see him getting into the team any time soon. We haven’t got the money to hold big squads but West Ham can put him in their U23s and give him another year or two.

“Sometimes things come back to haunt you.

“We’re building a new stadium and with Covid that revenue has been turned off. Even the young lads we have signed we’re looking for them to go out on loan so we can recoup money for them.

“It didn’t add up to keep him.

“It was a tough decision but there were also a lot of seasoned and experienced pros that left because we had to cut our cloth accordingly.

“If he comes back to haunt us then credit to the boy. We say: ‘Ram it down our throats and make it look like a poor decision’. Use that as a determination to succeed.”

The Dons could be set to loan out striker Zach Robinson. The 18-year-old scored in a 2-0 EFL Trophy win over Brighton U21s on Tuesday.

“He did really well at Basingstoke and Leatherhead to earn his contract,” said Hodges. “He had an injury over the summer and hasn’t come back at the same fitness as some of the other boys.

“He’ll probably go out on loan but we’ll have a look at the level of the squad come October 5. He’s been a goalscorer at all levels.”

Summer signing Ollie Palmer is not far away from being in first-team contention.

“During lockdown he had a minor operation on his groin,” said Hodges. “With no physio activity and work to be done coming back we’ve had to get him moving again.

“He’s getting close. He hasn’t had a pre-season so it’s just taken a little longer to get him up to speed so that he doesn’t break down again.”


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