Just when you thought I’d forgotten… ok, I actually had forgotten. With no Kedwell and no Mo the front line is looking very different to last season, but the delay in previewing has already seen a promising start…
I’ll admit to being a little confused by Charlie Boy’s arrival… surely not a replacement for Kedwell, maybe someone to give us more options from the bench after Mo’s departure… but it turned out Charlie Ademeno is looking like becoming a more than decent player in his own right. Not that we should have expected any different – remembering Grimsby fans commenting on the move, none of them questioned his ability, they just seemed a little miffed they didn’t see more of him on the pitch due to his injury records.
The length of time he spent on the sidelines went a long way to ensuring Grimsby allowed him to leave half way through a two-year contract, this a player they paid a five-figure sum for less than a year earlier. It also means Charlie has a contract built towards protecting the club should he spend most of the season on the treatment table, and means should he stay free of injury and score goals for us, TB might just have picked up the League Two bargain of the season.
While not the biggest forward, he uses his enormous strength to protect the ball and hold possession and bring others into play… which is the one aspect of Kedwell’s game I thought we would have most difficulty replacing. Unlike Kedwell, I’m not sure Charlie will be the most prolific of forwards, but that’s just going on his previous record – if he starts scoring on top of that it’ll be a nice bonus.
Is he a forward, is he a winger, or is he a full back? Well, to be honest we probably won’t see him very much in any of those positions this term, having fallen out of favour after a spell of indifferent form at the start of the year, allowing TB to bring Luke Moore back into the starting lineup. Yet although the O/S lists him as a defender, we’ve seen far more of him in an attacking role at first team level.
It’s a big season for Ryan, stepping up to the Football League. On his game last season his pace and direct running made him a handful for any Conference defence… the problem being when not performing to those levels he became a bit of a passenger. He hasn’t come close to getting game time in our early fixtures, which is a worry… I hate writing off young players, but I have to admit Ryan is one who I can’t see being with us this time next year.
The newest of the bunch, by all accounts a forward with plenty of pace and promise. Experience further up the leagues with Crystal Palace gives him a head start over some of our other younger forwards, the only slight worry being sometimes dropping down the divisions signals the beginning of a career slide for young players. Alternatively taking a step back is sometimes the only way to take two forwards, and if Djilali puts in even half the effort he did on his debut (still not fully fit, remember…) he won’t have any worries on the career front. We only have about an hour of football to judge him on so far, so I won’t, what I will say is his arrival gives us options…
Having already made the step up from county football to Ryman in a season, then from Ryman to Conference Premier a year later, Christian Jolley now finds himself playing in the Football League. Given the steep career curve Jolley has taken, an outside observer might expect him to suffer in the same manner Ryan Jackson is… in other words struggle for a contract next season.
But no… Christian has continued where he left off at the end of last season – not starting games, admittedly, but causing chaos and frightening the life out of League Two defenses as an impact substitute. Jolley has become something of a fan favourite thanks to his pacy, direct game, and we shouldn’t discount him having a run of starts (and hopefully goals) at some stage during the campaign.
And yet he is still young and inexperienced… still learning lessons. He will be inconsistent – one minute unplayable, the next fans forgetting he was even on the field. But once he gets over that, we could end up with some player on our hands…
With Kedwell having departed, I think a few of us were hoping Jack Midson would be the new Danny Kedwell, but have been proved wrong just a couple of weeks into the new season… it turns out Jack Midson is doing just fine being Jack Midson, and us Dons could find ourselves better off for it.
I can see Midson being as much of a hit with Wimbledon supporters as Kedwell was. We can already see for ourselves the qualities he’ll bring to the side… An eye for goal speaks for itself with four goals already, but bravery? Staples in a head wound that would have put lesser players out of the game at Dagenham. Plus we are already seeing plenty of positive comments praising his high work rate – Dons fans would forgive him for not being the twenty goal a season hitman if his hard work creates goals for other players.
I’ve always been a big fan of Luke, a tricky and intelligent forward who gets his fair share of goals but creates so much more for others. In fact I mentioned at the start of the campaign this could be a career season for Luke, providing he steers clear of injury. And what a start he made, showing everyone just what he is capable with a mazy run and finish at Crawley.
His goal tally might be boosted a little by the fact he appears to be our penalty taker this term, perhaps thanks to his nerveless penalty at Eastlands. Looks best when positioned behind a front two, like all our forwards he actually does an awful lot of work tracking back, not afraid to put in a challenge or two to win the ball back – definitely a Terry Brown player, a key member of the squad and the sort of player who, if he sticks around, will come in very handy if we find ourselves pushing for promotion in a couple of years time.