Robinson looks to Dons youth

Karl Robinson: Young players are the club's future

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MK Dons manager Karl Robinson has revealed his plans to create a Development team for the League One club next season.

Robinson is keen to ensure the fringe players within his squad are able to play competitive football when they are not involved in the first team.

It would also allow players in the Under-18 ranks to make the step up and bridge the gap between Academy and first-team football.

"We are looking and planning for an Under-23 team next year," Robinson told the club's official website. "We are looking for it to run alongside the first-team programme. Alan Smith and Paul Heald would run that for me, as well as Alan still playing.

"We're encouraging the young players to stay at the football club because they are the future. I think it is important that we develop the players.

"It won't be a regular thing, it will be when we can fit it in. It is important that over the next 12 months we have a big impact on what we do with the youth team because there are some special, special players there.

"We want to aid them in their progression. Obviously we want to stay competitive so you can't always play them, but when you are good enough you are ready and these players have certainly shown me that they are capable of competing in the first team next year."