Karl Robinson capped off a busy week for the Football Club yesterday night, when he agreed terms to sign defender Lee Hodson from Championship side Watford.
The Northern Ireland international full-back will become Robinson’s third signing in eight days when he completes his switch to stadiummk next week - the Dons’ fourth capture of the summer.
Of the four new signings – Patrick Bamford, Ben Reeves, Jason Banton and Hodson - none are over the age of 21 yet, combined, they have made over 170 professional appearances.
Robinson stressed earlier in the summer that he wanted to inject youth and energy into his squad and after securing the signature of Hodson this weekend, he looks to have done exactly that, and mkdons.com caught up with the Liverpudlian just prior to his side’s friendly against Plymouth Argyle to talk about his recent transfer business.
He said: “We have been working on these three deals all summer. Obviously we’ve had to respect the wishes of the clubs they were at initially.
“The four players we’ve brought in are all 21 years or younger but they’ve all got experience of playing first team football - Patrick, obviously, with us, Jason at Plymouth and Palace, Lee at Watford and Reevsy at Southampton and Southend.
“The last week has been busy but it’s been good and a lot of work has been put in by Andrew Cullen (Executive Director), Kirstine Nicholson (Club Secretary), the Chairman and Shaun O’Hara (Finance Director) along with the agent Rob (Segal) and all the parent clubs as well.
“It’s been a very long and drawn-out process and we’ve had to work hard to get these done quickly. I wanted them all available for the today’s game so we could have two weeks to work with them, which we’ve done, so I’m almost there.
“I still feel there maybe one more to come in, another young and exciting player and then we’re ready. It’s a very young and hungry squad.
“If you look at it now – Ian McLoughlin, Daniel Powell, Tom Flanagan, Lee Hodson, Ben Reeves, Patrick Bamford, Jason Banton, arguably Stephen Gleeson as he’s under-24 and not forgetting Dele Alli, Brendan Galloway and Giorgio Rasulo. The list is endless. It’s a young, young squad.
“It’s been a very hard and long summer but we’ve signed an awful lot of energy and some future stars of the Football Club. Now we face the difficult part of trying to integrate them into the team. Hopefully, though, over the next two or three games they’ll prove to me that they are worthy of a place in the starting line-up at Shrewsbury Town away.”
Despite the positives, there is one thing Robinson doesn’t like about bringing in young players. He added: “I’m definitely starting to feel like an older now, bringing in all these young players. Whereas last year I was signing players just a couple of years younger than me or maybe even a bit older, I’m now bringing in players where there is a ten year gap.
“It’s going to be different test for me and the team. Obviously these four players fit our recruitment policy and our financial restrains but these four players are also very talented and it’s my job now to make them compete.”