In my absence the Dons beat a Fulham XI 2-0 yesterday thanks to goals from Bret Johnson and Charlie Ademeno, and as I wasn’t able to attend and have only since read one decent report on the game I’ll not be commenting any further on the game. Rumours that I failed to show as my usual haunt in the JSS was closed for the day are wide of the mark…
As suggested in the preview we did see trialist striker Bas Savage in action, although whether he gets a contract or not depends largely on the Dons action in the transfer market, and news today coming out of Dover suggests Wimbledon have had a bid accepted for Adam Birchall. Swindon have also had their valuation accepted, so the way things stand at the moment they will presumably be favourites for his signature for numerous reasons, including financial and immediate ambition. I suppose the only hope we have is if we match Swindon’s offer financially and the player then decides he’s going to get more opportunities at Kingsmeadow.
Either way, actually winning this transfer race would be a massive coup for the club, and Terry Brown. Brown had been adamant he wouldn’t be bringing someone in, at least as far as his comment in the press are concerned, which is sensible – you don’t want to give supporters false hope a big signing will come in, as well as the players already at the club. Yet the move for Birchall, coupled with the bid for Connell at Grimsby (albeit a player we quickly found ourselves priced out of the market for), shows when decent players become available, the club will try to bring them in.
And I don’t think there is any doubt Birchall is more than a decent player. Ok, he’s been playing a couple of divisions below League Two, but the sheer volume of goals he banged in for Dover suggest making the step up shouldn’t be a problem, providing he joins the right club. Plus he sounds more than just a goalscorer, exactly the sort of player we need to attract in these post Kedwell days.
Yet with Swindon clearly favourites, and Gillingham sniffing around in the background (although you have to wonder whether their pockets are deep enough to match the valuation), the Dons seem unlikely to pull this deal off. Without any remaining obvious targets Brown will probably end up offering a contract to a trialist, although the value won’t be anywhere near what the likes of Birchall or Connell would have commanded, there will still be plenty in the pot should another big potential signing emerge. In terms of finding that elusive Kedwell replacement, patience will be required, but the news Brown is being proactive has given Dons fans a nice pre-season lift.