MK Dons have recently welcomed two new additions to the Academy, with the appointments of Lee Collier and Stephen Payne.
Collier joins the Club as the new Lead Professional Development Phase (PDP) Coach - a role previously held by Eduardo Rubio, who left the Club to join Crawley Town earlier this season.
He has 15 year’s worth of experience in coaching, having worked for the likes of Bristol City, Cheltenham Town and, more recently, AFC Bournemouth, Peterborough United and Reading.
In his role, Collier will manage and coach the professional development phase of the Academy - the Under-18s. The role will also require supporting the progression of the PDP phase players into the first-team squad and to coach and support the match/training programme of the Under-23s squad where required.
Collier told mkdons.com “I am excited to be here. It's been a frantic start, getting to know the players and see what the group is about, but it’s given me a good platform going into this New Year about where we need to go.
“We have a lot of work still to do with these players and the ones coming in. In the short term, our aims are to improve - both individually and as a group – while in the long term, we'll be looking to develop the Under-16s that are coming through.
“Our job, ultimately, is to work closely with the first-team so that when our players come to that stage of finishing their scholarships, they are selectable and ready to go into that first-team environment.”
Click HERE to watch an exclusive interview with Lee Collier on iFollow MK Dons
Payne, meanwhile, arrives as Head of Academy Coaching, replacing the departed Steve Brown.
Payne previously held the same role at Stevenage, where he had worked for 12 years out of the last 16 years, ever since joining on recommendation from Jimmy Gilligan – MK Dons’ former assistant manager.
In his role at MK Dons, Payne will manage the development of all Academy coaches and ensure that the Academy’s coaching programme is delivered consistently throughout the development phases in line with the playing and coaching philosophy of the Academy.
Payne told mkdons.com: “I'm delighted. This is a magnificent Football Club and it's great to finally get going.
“I wanted to join a Club where I felt I could have an impact. I know there has been real success here in the past, and we're looking to help continue that success into the future.
“My remit is exclusively with the coaches. I'm the critical friend for the coaches, in the office and on the pitches and I'm here to expose some blind spots they may have and help them improve, in turn helping our players to improve.
“There is a good energy and freshness about the office at the moment. There is a real enthusiasm to get the Academy to where it needs to be.”
Click HERE to watch an exclusive interview with Stephen Payne on iFollow MK Dons!