Loans haven't always worked for young Dons

None of Karl Robinson's squad have been sent out on loan this season.

None of Karl Robinson's squad have been sent out on loan this season.

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Karl Robinson has admitted sending some players out on loan in the past had proved fruitless, prompting him to introduce a development U21s squad this season.

The Dons manager, working with Director of Youth Mike Dove will select both the fixtures and the players made available for the side, who played for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, beating Stevenage 5-1.

Having not had a reserve team in the past, Robinson had been prompted to send his younger players out on loan. However, he admitted some loan spells hadn't always paid off, and he felt it let down several players.

"I don't think we've lost players, but we've lost the latter development of players," he said. "It's hard for players to go down to the lower leagues given how we play. I think we'll be stronger in our development now. We're trying to do something different to catch the next batch, the late developers. We've never really had that support mechanism.

"Over the last few years, we've had a bit of a grey area where players, the likes of Harry Hickford for example, there hasn't been a place for them to drop down into. In previous years, we've looked to get people out on loan, but we weren't getting the right loans for them.

"Our style makes it difficult for people to find loan deals. Sometimes, it's good for certain types of players, but not the ones we're trying to develop here. We made a few mistakes in the past, and did some players a disservice by sending them to teams where the quality wasn't right. And that's not disrespectful to the clubs they went to or the managers of those clubs, but the pitches aren't good quality or they don't play out from the back like we do.

"This summer, I decided no-one was going out on loan until at least January because we didn't know how this new window would play out. Now we've got a duty of care to these players to get them games. We can choose the games, myself and Mike Dove pick the team and I know the players will enjoy it."