Wally Downes reckons Toby Sibbick would have benefited from another six months with AFC Wimbledon – but was not going to deny the young full-back the chance of Championship football.
The 20-year-old signed for Barnsley in a deal which runs until 2023 with an option of a further 12 months. The fee has been mooted in the region of £300,000.
“You can’t stand in peoples’ way,” said Downes. “You try and improve them and if there are bids we have to consider it.
“It gives us some money to re-invest in the team and Barnsley have sold a couple of players, so Toby has the chance to go and play at a higher standard.
“I would have liked to have kept him.”
Sibbick featured 38 times for the Dons at first-team level last season.
Asked if he was ready to go straight into the Tykes’ senior set-up, Downes replied: “It depends how he adjusts when you get up there.
“In a perfect world I would probably have wanted him – for his development – to stay another six months.
“If I was his agent I would have said to stay another window at Wimbledon – you’ve played 30 games. Get 60 under your belt and you’ll be ready.
“I think there might be a bit of a transitional phase for Toby when he gets up there. But he is a good player who I expect to do well.
“At his age and experience I thought he should have stayed a little longer. I’m still sure he will make a success of it.
“They [Barnsley] instigated some initial interest when the season finished. But getting something written down and done takes a while. It went reasonably smoothly.”
Archie Proctor, 17, has signed his first professional deal with the Dons.
The defender had been due to start the second year of his scholarship but has been rewarded after impressing the club’s management team
Downes said: “He’s a very mature boy, very solid, and he’s a leader with the youngsters. He has stepped into the pro group now and we will be looking to get him playing.
“We might even get him out on loan to step up his development.
“It’s a very proud day for Archie and his family and we are happy to have him here at Wimbledon.”
PICTURE BY PAUL EDWARDS