Watters’ departure opens a door for opportunity at MK Dons

By The Newsroom
Friday, 31st December 2021, 2:03 pm
<p>Charlie Brown has found form and consistency a problem since arriving at MK Dons from Chelsea last January</p>

Charlie Brown has found form and consistency a problem since arriving at MK Dons from Chelsea last January

Max Watters’ departure back to parent club Cardiff City could open up the door for Charlie Brown to make a name for himself at MK Dons.

The 22-year-old has struggled for consistent game time since arriving from Chelsea a year ago, making just 22 appearances, only six starts and three goals, all of which came last season.

Watters’ short and sharp impact meanwhile saw him net seven in 14 outings for the club since arriving in the summer, but injury and illness hampered his time at Stadium MK.

With the potential for his loan players to return to their parent clubs during January, Manning said losing Watters was disappointing but said the spot in the squad now could go to someone in-house, with Brown being the most obvious candidate to step up.

“It can be exciting - one door closes but another one opens,” he said. “Maybe it allows someone here to step up and grab the opportunity, maybe we have to look outside. It’s an important message in-house: step up and show you can do it.”

Manning warned though should Watters’ boots not be filled sufficiently, both he and Liam Sweeting, Dons’ Sporting Director, will be on the lookout for strikers during the transfer window.

Manning continued: “It’s really important not to just be reactive, and that’s a huge credit to Liam Sweeting. Looking back, Richard Keogh left and Harry Darling came in; Scott Fraser left but Scott Twine was in. That’s not a reaction, that’s daily work and succession planning and it’s important to have that when these things happen that we’re able to move quickly and be in position to make sure the team can maintain the level.”

Max Watters scored seven goals in 14 games at MK Dons

On Watters’ departure, Manning added: “He was a good character and he had a good spell but it's part of the game. He was a bit stop-start - when we got here he was injured, he had an illness, got a few games then got injured again. He had some really good games for us, and I cannot speak highly enough of him.

“It feels like a loss at the moment, but he never really got into full flow. I wish him all the best at Cardiff and I hope he goes on and does well.”