Challenge laid down to teenager keeper Sandford after bench appearance

MK Dons 1-0 AFC Wimbledon

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 6:00 am

Ronnie Sandford made his first appearance on MK Dons’ bench in the derby game against AFC Wimbledon

Teenager Ronnie Sandford needs to challenge himself to be the best keeper he can be after making his first appearance on the subs bench for MK Dons last night against AFC Wimbledon.

Following Andrew Fisher’s move to Swansea City and Laurie Walker’s transfer to Stevenage, Dons were left with just one recognised first-team goalkeeper in the form of Franco Ravizzoli - himself making his league debut for the club between the posts.

Sandford, who turns 17 next month, has been a part of the first team fold on matchdays of late, often used as the third choice during warm-ups while Ravizzoli and departed Fisher were prepared for games.

Though Dons are on the hunt for a replacement for Fisher in this transfer window, head coach Liam Manning said he is a big fan of Sandford, and wants to see the 16-year-old now challenge himself to become a more regular part of the first team.

“It's a terrific experience for him,” said Manning. “We really like Ronnie, he's progressed through the academy and experiences like tonight will only help him.

“The challenge now to get there, turn up every day and to drive Pricey (Lewis Price), not the other way around. He has to want to be the best keeper he can be.

“The club has a huge history of bringing through academy players. Brook (Ilunga) was on the bench too, so credit to the academy for what they've done.”