Defender deal still possibile says Robbo after Dons see off Irish part-timers

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KARL Robinson has admitted that he could still sign the unnamed centre-back whose deal seemingly collapsed last week.

The MK Dons boss said that despite flying the defender out to link-up with the squad last week – before flying him home again – negotiations are still ongoing and would be concluded one way or another when he returns home later this week.

Jon Ostemobor and Alan Smith remain the only two new signings that Dons have announced so far this pre-season, but Robinson insists that things are still being sorted out in the background.

“Deals are still bubbling away,” he said from the Republic of Ireland. “I know fans get impatient, but we’re looking to get the best players we can.

“With regards to the centre-back – he came out here but there were still one or two issues we weren’t happy with.

“But that’s not to say the deal is dead. We’re hoping that when we get back, we can sit down with him again and try and make things work for both parties. He’s a player I’m interested in, I just hope we can get things sorted out.”

Away from transfer talk, it was back to the proper business on Monday night as Dons took on Irish side St James’ Gate.

Shaun Williams netted a first half penalty and Jabo Ibehre doubled the Dons lead in the second half to complete a 2-0 victory, with 23 players being given a run out against the part-timers.

“It’s good to get out and playing again,” said Robinson. “There were still a few signs of rust and a few ghosts in the back of people’s minds, but it was good.

“It’s the start of a busy period for us, with a lot of games coming up before the season gets under way, and we’re ready to get under way again.”

Trialist strikers Deon Burton and Juanfri made appearances in Dons colours, though Derek Riordan was nowhere to be seen.

But despite his absence, Robinson says that there is a chance for all three to turn their trials into permanent moves when they return to Milton Keynes.

He said: “We’re going to have a look at them all. We want to have a lot of options up front this season. We’ve already got Charlie MacDonald, Jabo Ibehre, Dean Bowditch, and Alan Smith is going to be playing up there too.

“We’re going to have a look at things after the Kettering game at the weekend and see where we are.”

But while fans will still be desperate for any little piece of transfer gossip coming to fruition, Robinson has highlighted the youth players coming through.

Dele Alli, Brandan Galloway, Joel Ivey-Ward and Mason Spence all got game time against St James’ Gate, and Robinson is keen to use them a lot more in the coming season. He said that the young players are as good as new signings to him, and the fans will see more of them in the next 12 months.

“I think everyone knows my philosophy is that if you’re good enough, you’ll play,” Robinson explained. “If one of the young lads comes through, impresses me and gets in the team, then so be it.

“They’re an exceptionally talented bunch, the players coming through. They are like new signings.

“It’s great for the club and great for the fans from Milton Keynes to see the local lads making a name for themselves in the first team.

“That’s why I’m a little disappointed with George Williams leaving – he’s now stuck in Fulham’s youth team when he could have been playing in the first team here.”

Dons return from Ireland on Friday ahead of Saturday’s friendly against Kettering at Nene Park. Before then a Dons XI visit Wolverton Town on Wednesday night. Kick-off at The New Park is at 7.30pm.