Dons boss Hodges won’t grumble over transfer budget cuts – as he discusses bookies making them favourites for drop to League Two

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

AFC Wimbledon’s transfer plans were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic – but you won’t find Glyn Hodges complaining.

The Dons, who kick off their League One campaign at Northampton Town tomorrow, have made seven signings.

Hodges had been looking to bring in a goalkeeper on a permanent basis this summer but the pandemic scrapped that – with Birmingham’s Connal Trueman , left, arriving on loan.

“I’m not moaning about the budget because people have been made redundant at this club through this virus and we had to furlough players,” said the Dons manager.

“We’ve had to cut our cloth accordingly and go for a top loan rather than a permanent signing.

“It’s not a good time and some clubs could go to the wire. We’re on sound footing and our future is bright. Normally when you build a new stadium you have to take a hit. But then we had the revenue turned off and the games finished, so we got caught with a double whammy.

“To be where we are – in terms of our squad after getting that news -we’d have taken that.

“We’ve got some good young players that give you surprises like Rudi [Jack Rudoni], who made that step up last season. We’ve got some lads we signed out of the Conference who have acquitted themselves well – that’s Ethan Chislett and Cheye Alexander.

“And we’ve got the tried-and-tested boys in League One and League Two who understand the game. We’ve got a nice balance.

“I hope they all shine.”

Wimbledon are favourites with the bookmakers to be relegated.

League One clubs voted in June not to finish their season, with the table decided by points per game. The Dons came 20th with Tranmere, Southend and Bolton dropping.

Hodges has no issues with Wimbledon’s odds for the 2020-21 season. He said: “That’s fine – they probably go on the last three or four years, We got out of it by the skin of our teeth in the first year under Wally [Downes] with the Mission Impossible. We were down the bottom again when the season was stopped short. I’m more than happy with the points tally we got and I think we’d have stayed up.

“We’ve got to make sure we prove them wrong. Hopefully we bash the bookies.”

Hodges reckons that the recent vote to impose a salary cap in English football’s third tier gives smaller clubs a chance to compete. He said: “If you’re the manager of Wimbledon and you’ve got the same budget as Ipswich and Sunderland then we’ll take that every time. It’s going to help us.

“But then I look at promotion to the Championship and there is no wage cap. The three that went up – Luton, Charlton and Barnsley – three of them were in the bottom four.

“They say the gap between the Championship and Premier League is big – but if we’re not careful the gap is going to be even bigger at League One level. That’s a concern.You want to be able to go up and make a fist of it in that division.”

PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD AND PAUL EDWARDS


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