Rhys could be the missing piece for MK Dons

Rhys Healey was in the goals for Dons last season
Rhys Healey was in the goals for Dons last season

It was the news Dons fans had been desperate for - Rhys Healey has signed on a permanent basis.

Clambering for another centre forward, a marque signing for what feels like years, Tisdale’s capture of the man he didn’t want to let go back in January has not just ignited the Dons fanbase, but has set out their stall for the forthcoming season.

Healey is a known quantity for Dons fans. Last season, he netted nine goals in 21 appearances.

He was a huge part in everything Dons got right in the opening half of last season - a key link between the midfield and attack, able to score and create goals.

His departure in January was a bitter pill to swallow, and though his replacement Jake Hesketh was an excellent player in himself, Healey’s more advanced position saw him in the goals far more often.

“I really enjoyed my time here last season so as soon as this move come around, I was on to and desperate to get it done,” said Healey upon signing.

Healey was back in Dons colours on Tuesday night

Healey was back in Dons colours on Tuesday night

“I was keeping an eye on results every week - I was a secret fan! I was desperate for the guys to get promoted and I was really happy when we got over the line.

“I felt like I was playing some of my best football here last season so I’m ready to go again this season and kick on even more. Like last season, I want to work hard, score goals and help the team push up the league.”

READ MORE: Healey watches Dons friendly after signing
Securing promotion to League One, it would be easy for Dons to test the waters for a year to see where they fall into the landscape, but Healey’s signing does not echo that.

Spending big on a player they have equally big ambitions for is a marker that this season will be about making a challenge at the right end of the table.

Following his departure, Dons lacked a spark who could get them a goal when they needed it - the sort of spark Healey showed against eventual League Two winners Lincoln City last season, and a man who could dictate a game, just as he did in the 4-0 whitewash of Crawley Town.

Whether in a front three or a two, Healey will make a big difference to the way Dons can play, giving them a new threat i nthe final third.

“It feels like he is one of our own because he was with us last season,” added coach Danny Butterfield.

“He’s an exciting signing, he’s wholehearted, committed, has goals in him and will be another strong addition to the squad.”