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Dons to enter development side in Central League South

Edu Rubio to manage Under-23s side in reserve league next season...

30 June 2017

MK Dons will compete in the Central League South reserve league during the 2017/18 season.

The Central League, the oldest reserve league in England, provides important development opportunities for young players as they seek to progress from youth football into the first-team environment.

Senior Professional Development Phase Coach Edu Rubio will manage the side, who have been invited into the South East division alongside four other clubs – AFC Bournemouth, AFC Wimbledon, Leyton Orient and Southend United.

The Dons will play their South East rivals both home and away. They will also play one game against each of the five teams in the South West division – Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town, Forest Green Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Swindon Town.

A full fixture list and venues for the matches will be confirmed in due course.

Rubio said: “I’m very excited. At MK Dons, we truly believe in the pathway between Academy and the first team and this development squad will definitely help to bridge that gap.

“These boys will now have a chance to play more competitive games which will prepare them for when they step up to the first team. As a result, the gaffer will have players who are ready to play for him at that level and I think it’s a win-win for everyone.

“The objective is to help develop the players in a way that when they go into the first team they have a good chance to compete – if Robbie doesn’t take any of our players through the season, I haven’t done my job.

“But we also want to do well in our games – we want to win. Of course, development will always be important, as it is any stage, but for these young players the emphasis has to shift more towards winning than it used to be for them in the Academy. Ultimately, when they get to the first team, winning is the most important thing.”

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