Neilson hopes slow and steady will win the race in the transfer market

Robbie Neilson is willing to take his time for the right players
Robbie Neilson is willing to take his time for the right players

Robbie Neilson hopes he can wrap up two new signings in the next week as MK Dons as the club returned for pre-season training this week.

The players were put through their strength and conditioning tests early in the week, and will return to training on grass on Friday ahead of the new season in August.

Having lost 10 first team players since the end of last season, Neilson has added just two bodies to his squad - Peter Pawlett and Connor McGrandles - but said he hopes to add at least seven before the first ball is kicked at Stadium MK against Wigan on August 5.

“We’re hoping to tie up a couple in the next week or so,” he said. “We’ve agreed things with the players and their clubs, but we need to add another five after that.

“It can change daily in football, and it depends who becomes available, and what happens to the players already here.”

With six and a half weeks before the new campaign though, fans are growing concerned about the seeming lack of movement in the transfer market, but Neilson was quick to ease those fears.

He said: “It’s the same at every club - if the fans had their way, we’d be signing players every day.

“It’s important we take our time and get the right people here. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in football is bringing in the wrong players.

“Not only does it cause a problem on the pitch and in the dressing room, financially it can destroy a club.

“It’s important we make sure it’s the right person, and we get the right deal for the club.”

Having handed down deals to five academy graduates last week, Neilson is pinning hopes on Connor Furlong, Callum Brittain, Oran Jackson, Branton Thomas-Asante and Ben Tilney to step up and make the grade next season too.

The five will be given opportunity to step up into the first team during pre-season, and says if they impress, it could make him look elsewhere on the pitch to recruit.

He said: "We've also got a really good group of young players coming through so if they can prove themselves in pre-season, it will mean we won't have to recruit in certain areas.

"It's important they get the opportunity to do that, but it's up to them to grasp it."

One man whose future is still undecided though is Ben Reeves. Spotted at Stadium MK on Tuesday, Reeves contract runs until the end of June and had been offered a new deal to remain at the club.

Neilson said he is hopeful of retaining the Northern Ireland international, saying: “He has been looking at his options and taking his time. It’s a big decision for him, he has options to go to different places.

“We’ve given him an offer, gave him a pitch - it’s upto him to make a decision.

“We have to pitch our case and hope they make the right decision.

“But at the end of the day, if a player doesn’t want to be here, I don’t want them here - it’s as simple as that.”