Laird's future remains in the hands of Manchester United, but Dons want him back next season
"If we're able to keep him next season we'd be very happy, but we'll have to wait and see"
Russell Martin would love to keep hold of Manchester United defender Ethan Laird for next season, but admitted it would be a difficult proposition.
The 19-year-old has been a regular in the side since arriving from Old Trafford, and remained tight-lipped about his future - "I can't say anything so far – who knows!" he said when asked about next season.
With Dons sitting 13th in League One, just five points adrift of the top six and a play-off spot, it is still all to play for in the remaining nine games. Laird though attracted interest from the Championship prior to getting injured at the start of the season, and Martin expects the United youngster to have attracted even more attention from teams up the footballing pyramid as a result of his showings at Stadium MK.
But he admitted, afforded the opportunity to land Laird for a second loan spell, Dons would do everything they could to make it happen.
"We'll try!" he said. "So much has to fall into place. It comes down to Manchester United first of all, and then Ethan and his representatives. He had Championship interest at the start of the season before he got injured. We'll have to see.
"Unfortunately, when you attract good players, they do well, you run the risk of not being able to keep them for long. That's just how it is with loans.
"If we're able to keep him next season we'd be very happy, but we'll have to wait and see. We've still got nine games to go, and of course conversations have already started but a lot of things will need to fall into place, and Manchester United will want to have a really good look at him when he goes back as well.
"We love Ethan – he has been fantastic. He has only improved since he got here. We're really pleased with him, as are Manchester United with how he has been treated. He has a lot to work on, but he's got all the attributes to be a really top player. He is really willing to learn, coachable, he is always smiling and he brings energy and enthusiasm to the club.
"When you come from such a big club, it would be easy to come with a little bit of a chip on your shoulder, but he hasn't got any of that. He has been fantastic on and off the pitch. We love working with him."