BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Wally Downes has made it clear he will have no qualms about going with youth in his AFC Wimbledon side after handing a Football League debut to Tyler Burey last weekend.
The 17-year-old winger came on in the second half of the 2-0 loss to Charlton and looked anything but fazed by the opportunity.
And Downes, an apprentice who rose through the ranks at the original incarnation of the South London club, said: “That was the way I was brought up at Wimbledon – young and hungry.
“If they are good enough and physically capable of it then I’m more than happy to put them in so they get experience with me.
“They have got experience at youth level and it’s about taking the gamble sometimes. You need to think if they are right and could they cope with everything?
“There is an opportunity to burst in because we are not setting the world on fire at the moment.
“He came in and played with a bit of freedom.
“I’ve got to turn the mentality around within the first-team squad. The kid played with freedom, it was good to see.”
Wimbledon will be without Mitch Pinnock for Saturday’s match at Wycombe Wanderers.
The Dons have no right to appeal as the former Dover Athletic man was sent off for two bookable offences – the second deemed a dive.
It evened things up after Naby Sarr was dismissed inside the opening minute.
Downes said: “The referee needs to stand strong by his convictions.
“When you send one off in the first minute then you have to be a top-class referee to forget that decision.
“It is just a trait that better referees have.
“He might be thinking his first one [Sarr] was rash. I thought it was a yellow – he wasn’t completely out of control. It was fast and strong.
“They put themselves in an invidious position if they are not top-class.”