Surman set to hang up his boots as McEachran deal draws closer
The midfielders played key roles for Dons in the second half of the season
Andrew Surman is likely to retire from football this summer, but Russell Martin is confident Josh McEachran will sign before the start of the season.
Surman, 34, signed for Dons in November after his release from a seven seasons at Bournemouth, including their time in the Premier League. Making 34 outings for Dons, Surman became a key man in their midfield.
Offered a deal for next season, Martin admitted Surman was likely to turn the offer down in favour of retirement.
"I've been trying to delay it in the hope he changes his mind, but I think he's probably going to stop playing," said the manager. "It was between playing with us or stopping. He was ready to stop before he came to us, and enjoyed playing with us so much, he was so interested in the project and loved it, but when you get to a certain age, there are more important things than football.
"You have to compromise and sacrifice a lot with your family to play football, it means a lot of time away, decisions you make are impacted by the games you play. And we're a long way from his family too. Unfortunately for us, it's the decision he's made but we totally respect it.
"We're really happy with what we've got in midfield. We got Ethan Robson in because we thoughts Surs would leave. He did brilliantly and we'd have loved to have him. If I see him pop up somewhere else, I'll be giving him a call!"
McEachran signed in March, and made 14 appearances in the latter part of the season after leaving Birmingham City in January. The 28-year-old former Chelsea man was also offered a new deal at the start of the summer, but having picked up covid recently, has only just returned to pre-season training. A part of the Dons fold recently again, Martin said a deal for the midfielder was close.
He said: "Josh McEachran is in the building with us. Unfortunately for him, he's had covid so he's getting fit again. We're constantly in talks with Josh about what the future holds and hopefully that'll be another one we can resolve quickly."