BY SAM SMITH
Neal Ardley still wants to add three more signings to his new-look AFC Wimbledon side.
The Dons have had an overhaul this summer with seven new players joining, but the 45-year-old is still hoping to strengthen his young squad.
Former Bradford City and Sheffield United striker James Hanson, pictured above, was in action as the South London club beat Brighton on Saturday.
And Mitch Pinnock, snapped up this summer from non-league Dover, has impressed in pre-season.
Ardley said: “We’re aiming for three more signings. We could do with another centre-back, a left-back and a centre forward so that’s what we’re in the market for.
“We’re trying to set a profile of what we want to do in our recruitment. We’ll bring in to enhance but still keep the spirit that we have got here so far. Sometimes the best deals are the ones that get done a little bit later.
“We’ve got all sorts of options but they aren’t going to all happen overnight. We’ve been offered a few players who aren’t the type that we’re looking for right now and we’ve had to say no to those for now, they’re not for us.”
Ardley lost youngster Egli Kaja in a loan deal to Scottish side Livingston last week, but does not feel that will affect any business the club does.
He added: “Egli’s departure doesn’t affect our business. Egli needed that spell of 30-40 games which is why we sent him out.
“He’s one that we like but we’re now going to look below to see if there is someone in the under-21s who might be able to supplement the first team. If there isn’t, then we’ll look to see if there is a loan deal that can be done from somewhere else.
“That’s one that could be a possible addition to the three that I want but we’re going to look within the club first.”
All of Ardley’s new players featured in the impressice 2-1 victory over Premier League Brighton on Saturday having each travelled on the midweek training camp to South Wales.
And Ardley has been impressed with how easily they have fitted into the squad: “The debutants were great [against Brighton]. They’ve all taken to the group really quickly and I think the group have also taken to them.
“There’s a bit of devilness about one or two of them and the rest of the boys seem to love them – so that’s a good start and we’ve got to keep trying to grow that for the season.
“They’re behind the others, when you’re two and-a-half weeks behind the rest of the group it can show but it didn’t show too badly [against Brighton]. There were a few nerves with one or two of them but they really acquitted themselves well.”
One of the debutants against Brighton was Anthony Wordsworth, who signed two weeks ago having been released by Southend. And the midfielder’s highly-respectable goal record – 60 in 298 league appearances – is a key reason for Ardley moving to bring the former Colchester man to the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
“That [goals from midfield] was one of the main reasons we signed him. We’ve always known he’s a great player, he has fantastic size and a wonderful left foot.
“That [goals] was the bit that we signed him for. We didn’t sign him to do anything other than to try to add goals to our team. Obviously we now have to get him up to speed and getting him to do the defensive side too.
“He’s got the legs to do the defensive side and if he can add the other side then that’s a signing that will work perfectly for us.”